Dhangadhi is a city located in the far west of Nepal, in the Sudurpashchim province. The climate in this region is very hot, yet the ground remains fertile. This means that many families live off agriculture.
However, poverty is still widespread: 25% of the people in the province live in poverty. This leads to food insecurity for the population, with children in particular suffering from malnutrition. In addition, girls are still exposed to child marriage.
Since 2015, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Dhangadhi.
Nepal has the 16th highest rate of child marriages in the world. This means that 40% of women in Nepal were married before the age of 18.
Child marriage is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. There is also an increased risk of child pregnancy and domestic violence.
In the province of Sudurpashchim specifically, where Dhangadhi is located, 35% of girls were married as a child. The national target to end child marriage by 2030 will require a major push from the government.
Although Nepal has been recognised as a leader in decreasing malnutrition, food insecurity is still widespread in Nepal. Many people suffer from acute hunger. In Sudurpashchim province especially, where Dhangadhi is located, parents struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children. For this reason, 33% of the children are underweight.
More specifically, 40% of children in Sudurpashchim suffer from stunting (short height for age), a consequence of malnutrition. In addition, 14% of children suffer from wasting (low weight in relation to height), which occurs when a child has not received food of sufficient quality and quantity.