SOS Children's Village Surkhet is located in western Nepal, over 100km from the nearest major town. The lack of roads to this remote location has left people in the region cut off from important services.
Families here predominantly rely on small scale agriculture as their means of survival. Most are extremely poor, and this has a major impact on the life chances of children throughout the area.
84% of Nepalese children enrol in primary school, but only 27% of these make it past year six, severely limiting their life chances. This is often due to parents inability to meet the costs of sending their children to school, such as tuition fees, uniforms, and transportation.
Additionally, many families who depend on agriculture take children out of school so that they can help farm. This means that children from rural areas, like Surkhet, often fall behind their urban counterparts.
Women left behind
With new laws being passed and a rising average age of marriage, the situation for women and girls in Nepal is improving. However, they continue to be extremely marginalised, both economically and socially.
73% of women over the age of 15 are illiterate, and unable to take a full and active role in public life. Even more worryingly, an estimated 12,000 women and girls are trafficked to India
every year. Education is key to empowering them and combating widespread trafficking.
What is SOS Children doing?
We began working in Surkhet in 1987 after seeing the problems caused by isolation and the lack of infrastructure. We continue to work to support the development children in the region and to help strengthen communities.
Our community outreach work supports families to ensure that children get the right start in life. We offer literacy classes to children who have missed out and scholarships to those whose financial situation is making it difficult to remain in school.
We also offer support to adults. Our day care centre gives working parents a safe place to leave young children, and the skills development programme we offer to women helps them generate income of their own and become more financially independent.
SOS Social Centre
Our SOS Social Centre, which is situated in Nepalgunj, offers scholarships and day care facilities to over 10,000 people every year. Here, our SOS Medical Centre also helps almost 12,000 adults and children every year. It offers them free treatment and medicine that eases the financial burden on families and allows parents to keep providing for their families.
Children who are not able to stay with their parents are able to find a loving home with one of our SOS families. Here, they live with their brothers and sisters and attend the SOS Nursery and SOS Primary and Secondary Schools with around 600 other local children.
As they grow up they can move into our SOS youth home, where they are supported and advised by professional counsellors. The time they spend here and the skills they learn helps them make the transition into independent adult life. Many maintain strong relationships with their SOS Mother throughout their lives.
In a variety of ways, we ensure children in Surkhet are given the best start in life. Will you help a vulnerable child in Cambodia, and become a sponsor today?