Countless children live on the streets of the capital Kathmandu, having run away from indentured servitude or been abandoned by parents. Child labor is high with 34% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 working. (UNICEF 2012.) Children as young as 5 are indentured. Education is not compulsory and only families who can afford it are able to send their children to school. Some government schools provide free education, but many families cannot afford school uniforms and supplies.
Few employment opportunities exist for women in the neighborhood where House with Heart (HwH) operates,. The main source is low-paying jobs in carpet factories that require long work hours. Childcare is most often not available, and sometimes babies are shut up in a room and left alone for many hours. It is not unusual to see children too young to even care for themselves left in charge of their younger siblings.
HwH is located in the Aarubari section of the Kathmandu Valley about an hour-long bus ride from the city center. It is one of the poorest areas the valley.
Nepal is a country is one of the poorest countries in the world. Few government sources are available to provide a safety net for its citizens, and there are not nearly enough non-profits to fill the gap.
Children and women, in particular, are vulnerable in this society. The low status of women contributes to the frequent abuse and abandonment of wives and children.
Girls often received less education than boys: 66% of girls attend secondary school compared to 74% of boys. By the time they are 18, 40.7% of girls are married. (UNICEF 2012.) Many also have multiple children by this age.
Of the people living in Nepal, 25 percent are living below the poverty line, having just U.S. 50 cents per day. This makes Nepal one of the poorest countries in the world.
Nepal is a country prone to a number of natural disasters. It was hit by a massive earthquake in 2015, which took the lives of thousands of people and destroyed a chunk of property in the capital (Kathmandu). Nepal is also prone to a huge number of landslides that block roads and kill people.
Around 5 million people in Nepal are undernourished.
20 percent of households are mildly food insecure, 22 percent are moderately food insecure and 10 percent are severely food insecure, according to the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey