Hope for healthcare
Many of us live from day to day without seriously considering how we could change our lives and society for the better.
Habit, inertia and social pressures keep us stuck in the patterns that we, and often our ancestors, have followed for centuries.
BMS World Mission is in the business of bringing a new way of life to people living in spiritual and physical poverty.
Marcus and Suzanne Walton work for BMS World Mission in Nepal. Suzanne has recently begun working with a new partner through United Mission to Nepal (UMN), an organisation that bridges various different Christian organisations working in Nepal.
Research by UMN’s partner shows that, for women in that community in mid-west Nepal, the following are true:
• 77 per cent have no education at all and another 17 per cent have only primary education
• 63 per cent cannot read or write
• The average age of marriage is 16
• 39 per cent of women have seen one of their own children die
• 78 per cent do not have any money of their own
• 88 per cent have not done any paid work in the past year
• Only half of the women are involved in making some decisions within their family
• Many women feel that a husband is justified in beating his wife (for things like burning the food, going out without permission, not taking care of the children)
• 91 per cent do not have access to a toilet
• There are many major barriers preventing women from accessing healthcare for themselves
When Suzanne went with other UMN representatives to speak with people from the community, people said that the change they would most like to see in their community was seeing “their paths and roads clean (of excrement)”.
As part of the programme that will be beginning soon, UMN will help people to build toilets and provide them with basic hygiene knowledge.
The programme will also look at nutrition, care of the newborn and care of sick children as part of a section looking at basic health knowledge.
They will also look at social issues such as early marriage and gender discrimination. Lastly, they will look at ideas for ways that people can develop additional sources of income.
Suzanne points out that effecting change in people’s lives is a long-term goal, saying that “change is often a gradual step by step process”.
This change, though, is a change worth making. Suzanne hopes that the differences will be visible. “I hope that in a year’s time we will be able to notice some differences.”