The Majhi

June 2018.

‘Jay Nepal’ is an action-based humanitarian group that is officially registered as an NGO in Nepal and Italy. After the devastating 2015 earthquake, Jay Nepal began its working, focusing on posting-earthquake response, relief and recovery in communities across Nepal.

Jay Nepal’s most recent project is the construction of a new medical centre in Bodgaun, Nepal. Bodgaun, home to the Majhi people, suffered extensive damage after the earthquake. The NGO started it’s work there by demolishing ruins and building shelters. However, this soon shifted to renovating damaged water pipelines, providing medical assistance, creating educational tools to further the village’s development, as well as self sustaining capability projects.

The Majhi, one of Nepal’s indigenous groups, are considered one of the poorest and most marginalised communities in Nepal. Traditionally boatmen and fisherman, today the Majhi lifestyle has been completely altered due to developmental activities such as gravel and sediment mining on the riverbeds within the region.

Women farming in Bodgaun. In this particular community it is normal for women to take on much of the manual labour.

Women farming in Bodgaun. In this particular community it is normal for women to take on much of the manual labour.

A Majhi man.

A Majhi man.

A drone image of the continuous gravel and sediment extraction occurring in the area.

A drone image of the continuous gravel and sediment extraction occurring in the area.

Two little girls sitting in what will be the doorway of their newly constructed home.

Two little girls sitting in what will be the doorway of their newly constructed home.

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The water supply in Bodgaun is insufficient. Currently, there is 1 working tap (that is meant to provide water for around 2300 people) that was first built by the Red Cross. This tap was completely destroyed by the Earthquake in 2015 and people had to rely on the river. This was later repaired after the earthquake by Jay Nepal, who brought in 2100m of pipeline in order to fix it. Although they managed to repair the Red Cross pipeline it really only supplies half the community with a sufficient amount of water. In the future Jay Nepal aims to provide Bodgaun, in its entirety, with a sufficient water supply.

The water supply in Bodgaun is insufficient. Currently, there is 1 working tap (that is meant to provide water for around 2300 people) that was first built by the Red Cross. This tap was completely destroyed by the Earthquake in 2015 and people had to rely on the river. This was later repaired after the earthquake by Jay Nepal, who brought in 2100m of pipeline in order to fix it. Although they managed to repair the Red Cross pipeline it really only supplies half the community with a sufficient amount of water. In the future Jay Nepal aims to provide Bodgaun, in its entirety, with a sufficient water supply.

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Tattoos in Nepalese culture have many different meanings. You’ll notice that this woman has a the symbol of a trident or trishula on her chin.  In Hinduism the trishula also has a few different meanings, firstly it is the weapon and emblem of the Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction. It has also come to symbolize several important ‘triads’, for instance creation, preservation and destruction; will, action and wisdom (feminine) as well as desire, will and love.

Tattoos in Nepalese culture have many different meanings. You’ll notice that this woman has a the symbol of a trident or trishula on her chin.
In Hinduism the trishula also has a few different meanings, firstly it is the weapon and emblem of the Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction. It has also come to symbolize several important ‘triads’, for instance creation, preservation and destruction; will, action and wisdom (feminine) as well as desire, will and love.

A little girl plays in the rubble during the construction of a new home in Sindupolchok, Nepal. In Nepal, 25.2% of the population live below the national poverty line.

A little girl plays in the rubble during the construction of a new home in Sindupolchok, Nepal. In Nepal, 25.2% of the population live below the national poverty line.

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A little girl (age 2). In traditional Nepalese culture, piercings (the nose actually holds more significance), are usually done before a girl turns 5 and carries different meanings among different castes. For example, Brahmins and Chhetris believe wearing such ornaments portray a woman’s purity and are believed to protect a woman and her family from evil spirits.

A little girl (age 2). In traditional Nepalese culture, piercings (the nose actually holds more significance), are usually done before a girl turns 5 and carries different meanings among different castes. For example, Brahmins and Chhetris believe wearing such ornaments portray a woman’s purity and are believed to protect a woman and her family from evil spirits.

A drone image of the newly completed Medical Centre. Volunteers and sponsors are joined by children from the near by school.

A drone image of the newly completed Medical Centre. Volunteers and sponsors are joined by children from the near by school.

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Pictured is Bikash, age 9.

Pictured is Bikash, age 9.

A young girl sits outside her home made from corrugated iron sheets.  Since the earthquake in 2015 many of the Majhi community in Bodgaun are still living in temporary shelters.

A young girl sits outside her home made from corrugated iron sheets.
Since the earthquake in 2015 many of the Majhi community in Bodgaun are still living in temporary shelters.

A group shot of some local children before they head off to school.

A group shot of some local children before they head off to school.

Nepal is an agricultural country. Majority of the people and communities in Nepal are dependent on agriculture to provide them with crops and around 80% of the people’s occupations are based around agriculture. Rice, wheat, maize and buckwheat are the major staple food crops.

Nepal is an agricultural country. Majority of the people and communities in Nepal are dependent on agriculture to provide them with crops and around 80% of the people’s occupations are based around agriculture. Rice, wheat, maize and buckwheat are the major staple food crops.

Sights like this are always hard to witness and learning how to react takes a bit of experience. According to the ILO, though child labour is declining at a rate of 100,000 every year, Nepal accounts for 1.6 million children (between the ages of 5-17) in child labour. Their estimates also suggest that 60% of the children in hazardous labour are girls, 3 quarters of which are under the age of 14.

Sights like this are always hard to witness and learning how to react takes a bit of experience. According to the ILO, though child labour is declining at a rate of 100,000 every year, Nepal accounts for 1.6 million children (between the ages of 5-17) in child labour. Their estimates also suggest that 60% of the children in hazardous labour are girls, 3 quarters of which are under the age of 14.

Even three years after the earthquake in 2015, many of the families living in Bodgaun are still living in temporary shelters. This is a drone image showing some of the construction going on.

Even three years after the earthquake in 2015, many of the families living in Bodgaun are still living in temporary shelters. This is a drone image showing some of the construction going on.

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Nepalese women have a much higher workload than the global average. Around 78% of economically active women are engaged in agriculture, a rising number due to the extensive labour migration of men from rural areas. As a result of increasing economic pressure many men have been forced to leave their local occupations and travel to cities or abroad, leaving women with both the domestic and labour roles within the family.

Nepalese women have a much higher workload than the global average. Around 78% of economically active women are engaged in agriculture, a rising number due to the extensive labour migration of men from rural areas. As a result of increasing economic pressure many men have been forced to leave their local occupations and travel to cities or abroad, leaving women with both the domestic and labour roles within the family.

Pictured is a little boy being shielded by his father amidst a crowd.

Pictured is a little boy being shielded by his father amidst a crowd.

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A photo showing the incredible strength of the women from the Majhi community (although such sights are not confined to just Bodgaun). Another daily duty for them is collecting grass and leaves for the livestock each family keep.  Roughly 400 families, each of those will have buffalo, cows, pigs or goats... or a combination.

A photo showing the incredible strength of the women from the Majhi community (although such sights are not confined to just Bodgaun). Another daily duty for them is collecting grass and leaves for the livestock each family keep.
Roughly 400 families, each of those will have buffalo, cows, pigs or goats... or a combination.