WE REDUCE INEQUALITIES
Chepang, beyond a caste, is considered as an indigenous community. This group represents 0.26% of the total population of the country, around 80,000 individuals (2012 data), and is one of the most marginalized indigenous groups according to the categorization created by the Nepalese government.
Originally, they are a Mongoloid group that organized as nomadic tribes. One of the origins of its name is, "Chyobang" of which Chyo means "above" and Bang means "stone".
There are many legends and stories from Hindu culture that speak of their origins and meaning, such as that they are direct descendants of the heroine Sita or that the first Chepang baby was abandoned in the forest by his mother and raised by monkeys.
What is more certain is that when King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah made his first visit to them in 1977, he named them “Praja”, which means citizen, referring to the fact that they too were part of his people and that he was going to take care of them. Despite this gesture, the new generations prefer to be called Chepang instead of Praja, since this, etymologically, means "going far." In this way they separate themselves from a connotation of servitude and dependence on the King of Nepal, thus recovering the original identity of people who are closely related to nature.
Although they were nomadic groups, the Chepang are currently settled and involved in agriculture, although they depend on the fruits of the forest for food due to insufficient food for a whole year.
They are mainly located in central Nepal (in the Gorkha, Dhading, Makwanpur and Chitwan districts), and although most Chepang communities are located close to the main roads in the country, there are not many secondary roads leading to these areas, thus causing isolation and lack of basic infrastructure such as schools, health centers and access to basic services such as water or electricity.
The Chepang have their own language and, in general, they can also communicate in Nepali. Most of the Chepang are illiterate; The UN reports that around 75% of the total population of the Chepang ethnic group is illiterate and only 1% of women can read and write.