Early Childhood Care and Development in Nepal

Bordering the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, the country of Nepal is isolated from any seacoast and buffered from the outside world by India and China. Nepal is home to almost thirty million people. More than 80 percent of its people work the land in a region that is suffering from severe deforestation and soil erosion.  Nepal’s best farmland is in the Tarai lowlands of southern Nepal, while the north is quite mountainous. The towering elevation of the Himalayas restricts human habitation in the north. High population growth has also been outstripping the country’s economic growth rate in recent years.

In a different part of Nepal, Lumbini—near the city of Bhairahawa (Siddharthanagar), on the border with India—is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this one focusing on the birthplace of the Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born about 563 BCE, near Lumbini. The city has recognized the prince with a number of monasteries and temples built in his honor.

In the late 1700s, local states of Nepal were consolidated into the one kingdom and ruled by monarchy. The kingdom was ruled by royal families until the mid-1900s. Nepal has been free of British influence since 1947, but has had trouble establishing a stable central government. The royal family in charge of the kingdom was replaced in 1951, and further democratic reforms were made in 1990.  The first president of Nepal was sworn into office in 2008.