Nepal is a land-locked country situated at the foot of the snow-capped Himalayas. Nepal is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It is basically an agrarian society, with about 91% of the economically active population engaged in agriculture. The economic standard of the people, especially those living in the mountain areas is very poor. They have little or no access to medical aid, education, transport, safe drinking water and electricity facilities. The people of the remote villages are very neglected and they face grave problems.
Patriarchal thinking contributes to the sorry situation of girls in Nepal. Social attitude towards girls is still regressive. Many girls are denied parental care, education, health services, recreation and other basic services, from the time of their birth. Literacy rate amongst girls is only 42 per cent compared to 65 per cent amongst boys. In Nepal, trafficking has become a highly profitable business. Girls are trafficked for different purposes including domestic work, forced begging, marriage, carpet weaving and the sex trade.
In 1998 the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in India took the decision to establish a foundation in Nepal. They chose Pokhara in the Kaski District, the second largest city in Nepal. It is located about 200 kms west of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The valley of Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, attractive lakes and beautiful landscapes.
The Sisters set up Opportunity Village to provide opportunities in the areas of health, education and training for disadvantaged young girls, women and the sick in the Pokhara area. The Services provided at Opportunity Village include: Residential Care and Education, Health Care, Counselling Services and Vocational Training for women and children. All efforts go into protecting and, wherever possible, preventing them from entering a life of slavery. The Sisters are especially conscious of the dangers that prevail in Nepal in the Human Trafficking business and as part of Anti Human Trafficking work they strive to protect the children and young women through education for life and personal development.