International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Asmita Nyasur, an indigenous woman in Nepal, used financial support provided by LWF Nepal to recover from the 2015 earthquake. Photo: LWF/Ram Sharan Sedhai
Asmita Nyasur, an indigenous woman in Nepal, used financial support provided by LWF Nepal to recover from the 2015 earthquake. Photo: LWF/Ram Sharan Sedhai

LWF Nepal supports Adivasi Janjati

(LWI) - August 9 is International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.

According to the UN, there an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than five percent of the world's population but account for 15 percent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7000 languages and represent 5000 different cultures.

Through support to indigenous peoples, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) reaffirms its commitment to stand in solidarity with them and to support excluded indigenous communities who suffer injustice.

In Nepal, the LWF is supporting members of the Adivasi Janjati, tribes or communities that have their own mother language and traditional rites and customs, distinct cultural identity, social structure, and written or unwritten history.

The Nepalese government recognizes 59 indigenous groups. Indigenous peoples make up a third of the country’s total population, approximately 8.5 million out of 26 million Nepali. However, indigenous peoples in Nepal are considered marginalized in terms of their overall development.

LWF Nepal prioritizes the most marginalized and vulnerable groups. In its humanitarian and development interventions, LWF Nepal focuses most on the communities like Dalits, indigenous peoples, people with disability, women-headed households and children.

High priority to most marginalized

Dr Prabin Manandhar, Country Director of LWF Nepal, says, “Indigenous peoples constitute the largest single percentage of the Nepalese population. We accord high priority to the most marginalized and vulnerable people while implementing programs and responding to emergencies and indigenous peoples are one among them. Out of our rights holders 32 percent are indigenous peoples and female outnumber male.”

Disaster creates, aggravates and perpetuates poverty. Asmita Nyasur lives in the Kathmandu Valley and belongs to the Tamang community, one of the Adivasi Janjati. She was badly affected by the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Subsistence farming is the main source of her livelihood. The already economically poor woman faced further hardship when the earthquake destroyed her house and killed livestock. She had a hard time supporting her five-member family.

LWF Nepal, through an implementing partner, provided her with some money with which she bought some goats, increasing their number to 18 within the span of two years. Emboldened, she bought a buffalo and took out a loan from a women’s local cooperative. She took training in agriculture and business education from LWF Nepal and now leads a local women’s group submitting grant proposals to local authorities.

The LWF supports indigenous people in a number of countries and regions, implementing livelihoods support and human rights protection of their rights as distinct peoples.