Nepal, Asia

NEP02b - Ray Of Hope Society - Community Development, Nawal Parasi: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: April 23, 2010

Report Received Following Visit by BHW Field Director

 

Church Planting

His Flock Fellowships

When we were here a year ago there were 19 churches in this network. The network is called “His Flock Fellowship” and I guess you could call it the denomination but it’s not really, more a loose network. They encourage people to be church planting and to work with churches in an existing area. If there is no church in that area then they plant one of these “His Flock Fellowships.” Last year there were 19, now there are 71! They are all being developed and led by graduates from their training programme. Of the 71 churches, 27 are fully engaged and others are in varying stages of development. To be called a church a number of criteria have to be met: they have to have at least 12 baptised members, be meeting regularly and have a pastor. 

First Christian in this  community after Niranjin
 

Nepal Pastoral Training Ministry

Part of the church planting work here is what Niranjan Adhikary calls “Nepal Pastoral Training Ministry” or “NPTM.” They buy books from a group called BTC based out of Bangalore, India. It’s an American curriculum but they are printed in Bangalore. Niranjan has been getting some personal support from BTC and that is being continued until the end of 2010 at which time it will finish. The churches are really struggling to develop as the growth has occurred very quickly and they are struggling with management. They don’t have any intention of pushing the planting of new churches in the near future. For Niranjan, church development and quality are very important.

They have run into a couple of problems. The church planters that are out there in the field are often pretty poor. A lot of Asian mission agencies come along, especially from Korea and Singapore, who invite them to join their mission. They support them for a year or so and then they shoot through. When the support finishes the church planters all come back to Niranjin saying they have no money. There are also a lot of cults out there and some of the church planters are not yet trained well enough to be able to recognise this.

They are not trying to grow an organisation or denomination but to assist all those that want to work with them. BHW really likes this about them. Sustainable church development is the model and many people, even missionaries, are criticising them for this. They say, “this is a business model, not a biblical model and the pastor should be fully supported by a church. If you are working, then it’s not biblical.” They therefore have their battles in the area of church planting.

I started this report with church planting because at the end of the day, that’s the purpose for everything else that is being done in Nepal. The major outcome we want to see in the Ray of Hope Society is not just new churches being planted but sustainable new churches being planted. This is an important point to make.

 

 

Resource Centre

The resource centre is their revolving fund. This is the foundation for setting up small scale businesses, giving loans and then people paying back in so that eventually this fund will support the development of new Societies. (Society is the local word for a church here) The primary Resource Centre is managed out of Kathmandu and Niranjan is the key person for this fund.  From this main resource centre, funds have been put into a number of other projects. 

Local farmer
 

Agricultural Cooperative

Dumkauli is a small village in Nawal Parasi District. In this rural area, near to the clinic, they have put some funds together and started an agricultural cooperative. The local farmers came up with the name “Transparent Agriculture Cooperative Ltd.” There is no other coop in the area. The locals have been ripped off by banks and loan merchants.

It is for farmers and they don’t have to be Christians; anybody can join as long as they are a farmer. The idea is they pay in every month 100 rupees (NZ$2). (Rate = 70:$US1, 50:$NZ1). Currently 200 farmers have joined so they are now putting in their money. 20 farmers have so far received loans. They all get little passbooks and it’s all very well documented. The money they put in is then lent out to members and is all recorded so if they want to withdraw their money they can do so.

Sewing

The second major lending from the Resource Centre is money sent through specifically for sewing. $US3,000 was sent through last year. This has been divided as follows:

Teaching others to sew
 

a) Durga - Kathmandu
$1,000 was lent to a woman called Durga. She had a small sewing business and has been given the loan to grow her business. Durga is married to Kedar and they have two sons, 12 and 9 years old. She has taken on three apprentices and they come and work with her. She teaches them and trains them, they make garments and she pays them for their work. She then sells the clothing for an income. Some people bring in their own cloth and she does stitching for them.

These three women have been with her for three months and will stay another three. Then they will go off and do whatever they can do to earn money themselves. She started this business in 2008 and now has a very good reputation in the area. It would take somebody about two years to fully learn.

New storage
 

From the money that she got to boost her business she has bought a cupboard to keep the cloth she has bought and the clothes she has made. She built a fitting room for people to try clothes on, and bought a lot of cloth that is stored in the shop. It is much cheaper for her to buy cloth in bulk and then the locals buy from her rather than them go out and look for cloth. She has also bought a wooden rack on which to put things, two electric sewing machines that can also be used by treadle, and an overlocking machine.

She is repaying 1,000 rupees per month for her loan and on top of that she gives 200 rupees per month into the ministry. Having this boost to her business has helped a lot. She is now able to send her children to an English medium school, before they were just going to a local school. Her husband is very happy that her business has increased – it affects the whole extended family. The husbands of the three women being trained are very happy about what’s going on. These women are neighbours from around there who had nothing to do and they came and asked for help, so that’s how it got going. Durga is a Christian and has been baptised. Her husband comes to church from time to time but has not been baptised yet.

Most families in the area have financial problems and have seen what is happening with these women that Durga is training. Many of them are now asking to be trained as well. The problem is going to be how to select more when it comes time to do that. These women earn between $US4.50 and $US5 a day while they are apprentices so they are earning quite good money. It is a pretty impressive concept.

b) Tikapur
Based on this sewing model, another project has been started along similar lines. It is in Tikapur, 650 kms west from Kathmandu, so it’s a long ride. It was just started in February 2010 by a pastor and his wife. The wife has been trained as a seamstress and she has taken on 10 ladies who come in for two hours a day.

She is the expert, she owns the business, and the women are trained. They work for her as apprentices, get paid something and then she sells the product and receives an income from it. It is a really good little model. Niranjan bought sewing machines and cloth and sent it out there. It cost $2,000 to set it up. It is a church initiative in the community. As in many other places the local churches really struggle in these Hindu cultures to engage the community, this is a very effective way of doing it.

One of the issues in this area is that many of the people are bonded labourers, especially the women. All of the women in the first programme are bonded labourers. What that means is that at some stage in the past, either their parents or grandparents took loans from wealthy people, land owners, employers etc. Often they couldn’t read so they were scammed. They might have got a loan for 500 rupees but it was written in as 5,000 or 50,000 and they couldn’t tell the difference. They put their thumb to it, couldn’t read, and then found themselves totally in debt to the person they borrowed the money from. The only way they could pay it off was to go and work for that person and this has become intergenerational.

They don’t get paid very much but they get their food and even accommodation. It becomes a reasonably easy way of life in a sense. The problem is their children don’t get educated and grow up thinking that that’s what life will be like for them and the children end up as bonded labourers as well. The government banned this some years ago and paid off all those debts for bonded people so that they would be set free. However the problem is, these people didn’t know any other kind of work so often went back to their bosses and asked if they could carry on under the same circumstances.

Quite a few of these people have become Christians and now don’t want to continue with this but don’t have any means of income. This is why the sewing is a very valuable concept in this particular community. The bond servants are very responsive to the gospel. I saw a photo here with Niranjin preaching and there were hundreds of them standing around listening. Some people are coming to the programme from quite long distances, 15 kms or so. On the basis of just this first project started in February they have started another fellowship about 15 kms away where some of these women come from.

On the back of this project, the pastor now wants to start a hair cutting business so that’s something that they are going to be looking at at some stage in the future as well.

c) New programmes 
The next stage of development of the Resource Centre is more sewing programmes. They have observed that these have become very useful and so they are in the process of ordering three machines to be sent to three other churches. Two to two separate churches in a town called Dang, and another machine is going to a church in Nawal Parasi where sewing programmes will be started. These are all set up as loans so the people who run these businesses will have to pay them back.

One of the issues of course is that often these people don’t have land or anything to put up as collateral. If they don’t, the Resource Centre takes their original citizenship card from them until the loan is repaid.

Chicken farming 

The last part of the Resource Centre is that they have given out three small scale loans to chicken farmers. They got about 10,000 rupees each. This wasn’t quite enough. They are kind of learning as they go about how much is enough but it has been a help and those three chicken farmers are repaying their loans.

 

They have a pretty clear process in place for processing an application. When an application is received by the area coordinator it would be brought to Niranjan. They would discuss it and then the area coordinator with Niranjin and Sonu would make a decision as to whether to go ahead or not. They know how much money is available and manage that.

 

In charge of clinic
 

Clinic at Nawal Parasi

We visited the clinic and took photos. The clinic is getting around 15-18 patients per day. They have had to change the way they run it. Basically they don’t charge anybody for a consultation. They make their money on the drugs they sell, a 17% mark-up. Because they buy bulk from pharmaceutical companies they often get free medicine. If they buy a large packet they may get an extra one free and because of this they are able to make more money. They have had to work hard at cutting costs so now instead of having a doctor there every week on a certain day, they ask people if they want to see a doctor and if they do then they book the doctor to come; he only comes if there is a need for him. People have to pay the doctor as well.

We have got all the financial figures on a monthly basis. After six months of operation, to the end of February 2010, they had a total of 57,896 rupees profit, around US$800. Most of that will be going back into purchasing more drugs etc so they have still got a way to go in terms of becoming financially viable with a profit to be able to put over into the Resource Centre. It is proving to be not quite as viable financially as they thought but it will take time, it has only be going since September last year.

The whole community knows that it is a Christian clinic. The high caste people refuse to come because it is Christian: in fact the local Hindu priest who was quite a young guy had high blood pressure. He refused to come because it was Christian and he died because he basically didn’t get his blood pressure tested.

They are finding that there are a lot of poor people who can’t afford to even buy the drugs. There is an area not far from them where there are a lot of flood victims. They basically had land but a flood came through and took all their top soil so they have been resettled close to here and they are struggling. A lot of them are sick and poor as well.

Clinic entrance
 

Personal Story

One man came to the clinic very sick, he had been constantly sick for six years. He was a single guy in his late 20’s. He would faint and sometimes walk around doing whatever he was doing without remembering anything. He came and stayed with his aunt who then brought him down to the clinic and to Niranjan. They prayed for him and over a period of a couple of weeks he was healed. Niranjan got a couple of the local pastors involved. The young guy had a lot of worries and concerns and pressure from the family to be the income earner and because he wasn’t married and was 29 he was getting to old to get married. There was just all sorts of stuff.

He became a Christian and went back home and started talking to his family. One of his family members, I think it was his uncle, travelled all the way to visit Niranjan, like 9 hours on the bus to find out about this Christian thing. The whole family have become believers because of that contact at the clinic. Now he just can’t stop telling people about Jesus. He is in Kathmandu at the moment being trained in areas of evangelism and mission. He spends time at the clinic talking to the patients as they come in. When he is finished training he may go back out into that area and do some evangelism and farming and maybe even get involved in church planting in the future. They are really excited about that outcome from the clinic. 

Rice from farm
 

Model Farm

Around the clinic is the land on which they hoped to develop a model farm. The farm was to be based around seasonal crops like rice, there is a big paddy field there, and then vegetables that they would grow near to the clinic and trees that they planted. However the key to it was to put in a deep well bore so that they could have water to grow a second crop of rice or other grain. They have attempted to dig the bore and it appears to be one of the few places in the area where they can’t get water. This has disappointed them. However from the seasonal operations they returned a profit of 121,000 rupees, about $US1,800. This is quite encouraging and most of that will go back into the farm and that will start generating some profit from there. 

They were hoping to set up the bore hole and sell water to local farmers so that all the farmers in the immediate adjacent vicinity would be able to grow two crops a year. They still haven’t given up that concept. They have used some of the bore hole money to finish the clinic buildings but as that money comes back in they will start looking at putting in some other bore holes in other places for that same purpose.

We learned while there that this whole area is growing significantly. In fact when you drive into the clinic from the main road, there are new houses being built all around the place. Somebody has offered to buy the clinic for 100% more than it cost them. We have told Niranjan that if that is the best thing to do then he should consider it. Of course he said that he wouldn’t do anything like that until he had talked to us and then we would need to talk to the donors. However this may be a way of solving the water problem, selling it and moving somewhere where there is water, starting another clinic and being able to help another community. We started talking about that option as well.

 

Financial Reports

We have received a very full financial report from Niranjin. It lists the local net income from the clinic, the farm, the Resource Centre loans and the sewing business. I have got details of all the money that has come in from BHW, the date it came in, the amount in US$, the varying exchange rates as the money has been changed, the amount in rupees, the purpose for it that we’d agreed on and then the expenses.

What I have noted is that they have kept all the money into its designated areas but they have actually spent some money in other areas. However they know all that and Niranjin is basically working on about a two year time frame by which time the money that has been borrowed from one area will be repaid and used for the purpose it was sent. I am happy with that.

There is a detailed expense summary for the building of the clinic, right down to all the tanks they bought and the wages, tractor charges, money they’ve spent on the farm, money they spent on the sewing business, it’s all here for Kathmandu, Tikapur, Dang and Nawal Parasi. There is also a list of all the internal things in the Hope Medical Centre that they’ve spent.

 

Kicked out of home
 

Project manager's comments

I spent a bit of time with Niranjin and then some time with Sonu as well. It is interesting just to observe them. One of things that happened just recently in their local church is that they have come across ten boys all around about 15 who have been kicked out of school for being naughty - smoking! Their parents have basically said ‘get lost’ and thrown them out of home. The school suggested the boys go down to the church as they might be able to help so they have ended up with these ten boys at church.

They have distributed the boys around the church families for sleeping, they got two each. Niranjan and Sonu have two sleeping there and all 10 come down to Niranjan and Sonu’s at 7 in the morning and have their three meals a day there. They are trying to get the boys into schools as the new school year starts in another week or so. They have managed to get three of them in so far. It places quite a burden on them but is just another indicator of the calibre of the people we are dealing with here. They have already adopted a little girl into their family as well who they rescued from prostitution. It is quite amazing to see the way they just do what they say they do.

We still have $US3,500 to come in as a boost in June 2010 and then $5,000 next year. This will be divided between a boost for the Nawal Parasi farming cooperative and the other new loans they will develop. I think this is a good strategy. I am not inclined to put any more than these amounts in here although there is the capacity to do that or there will be at some stage in the future.