Where are They From?
Nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Gurkha's rural Nepalese homeland is as treacherous as it is beautiful. Views stretch across spectacular mountains and valleys. Most people farm the land, growing rice, potatoes and vegetables. A buffalo will be a beast of burden and a source of milk, and they may have a few chickens, running outside their simple mudbrick houses.
Nepal is developing quickly but in Gurkha villages, modern comforts remain a rarity. In most villages, there is no electricity, and there may be a steep day or two day's walk to the nearest road. If so, apart from what is produced in the village, everything must come up or down the mountainside on a person's back. People are not well off -- Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries -- but life has a simple dignity.
In many areas, there is 1 doctor per 5,000 of the population, but in some areas, the ratio may be as low as 1 in 100,000.
However, life's simplicity is all too frequently interrupted by natural disasters. Nepal is especially prone to calamities such as earthquakes. Each year, the monsoon rages angrily, and as rivers burst their banks, landslides and floods are an ever present danger.
State welfare provision is almost non-existent, and healthcare facilities are thin on the ground, especially in the remote Gurkha villages. In many areas, there is 1 doctor per 5,000 of the population, but in some areas, the ratio may be as low as 1 in 100,000. In old age, if poverty or ill-health strikes, there may be nothing to rely on but the already stretched resources of friends and neighbours. That is why the work of The Gurkha Welfare Trust, and our 20 Welfare Centres, is so important.