Riverbed communities in Nepal are some of the poorest groups on the planet. Families make their livings by excavating sand and stone to sell for pennies. The Mountain Trust aims to assist these riverbed communities in Nepal in various ways. These include facilitating visits by medical volunteers, providing basic medicines, clothing, and bedding, sponsoring students through education as well as covering the costs of surgery and medical treatment in many cases. The Trust is also engaged in an ongoing long-term sanitation project for the people in this community.
Nepal is a land-locked country without beaches, the building trade demands that people break stones into aggregate or dig up sand in the riverbeds to sell to construction sites and contractors. The labour is backbreaking and hazardous to the people involved, leading to diseases and risk of being washed away in flash flooding and stong river flows.
The riverbed communities sell the stones and sand by the truck-load for the most basic subsistence. A fully loaded 5 tonne truck brings an income of only 2000Rs (roughly £15), which is barely enough to feed the family and certainly leaves little to spare for health, educational, or other costs.
Many of the families in Krantitole, Pokhara - the community we work most closely with - were displaced during the civil war before 2006 or have been victims of circumstance. Floods and landslides claim many thousands of acres of farmland each year, leaving the farmers destitute. Others have been disowned by their relatives and left with nothing.
Families come to Krantitole with nothing but find support there from the community and The Mountain Trust that allows them to make a living selling stones from the riverbed secure in the knowledge that if they need emergency healthcare or are unable to meet vital school expenses, we will be there to lend a hand.
Recent work has included a community-scale sanitation project to provide access to clean drinking water and toilets to all. Please take a look at the Mountain Trust's recent Health Needs Assessment Research. This document illuminates the stark reality of living in the Krantitole riverbed community. To find out how you can help this riverbed community, contact us.