The village of Midim Bhache is known for its natural beauty, important cultural heritage and unspoiled ethnic lifestyle. The village is 135 kms from Pokhara by road, but only 15 kms as the crow flies. Sitting at an height of 2000 meters, summers relatively warm, while the winter season is very cold with snowfall. A road to the village is in its final stages of construction and should be completed within months. For the first time ever this road will allow vehicles to access the village all year round.
The main village is made up of approximately 60 households, totaling 184 people and with an average family size of six people. There is an additional 180 people living at the bottom of the hill below the village. The main basis of the local economy is subsistence agriculture with some households’ receiving further support from ex-army pensions or family members who are working abroad. Paddy, millet, maize, wheat are the staple foods raised, but the majority are only not able to harvest enough food to sustain the household for more than 6 months per year. Supplementary food must be purchased from urban areas. Most villagers raise livestock, and practice transhumance, or the moving of animals from low country to high hills depending on the season. It is also common to have livestock within the home. Goat, sheep, bull, cow and buffalo are commonly found. Manure for fields, wool for cloth and milk are all harvested and utilized within the household.
Home and Family
The housing structure in Midim Bhache is very similar to other villages region. Houses are made of using locally available materials stones, mud and timber, topped by a thatched or tin roof.
Sanitation within the village is very good, with the vast majority of households having toilet facilities within the home. This may be a result of the village being in the proposed village tourism development project belt. There is insufficient water supplied to the village. This is a key concern amongst local people as it is believed the village has great potential in terms of tourism development, but additional water sources are needed. Currently there is no electricity supplied to the village, however, an extension of a hydroelectric powerline is in the development stages. Several households are using solar panels for lighting and radio. Firewood is the only source for cooking, heating and to some extent lighting! The village has enough forest close by to meet its needs for wood. In Midim Bhache, the average age for getting married is 18-20 years for females and 20-25 for males. No dowry system exists in the village. Twenty children within the village and surrounding areas are orphaned and vulnerable with the majority of these from the Dalit community.
Education within the Village
Until as recently as May 2008, the nearest proper primary school is in another village requiring the young children from Midim Bhache to walk uphill two hours to and from school each day. As most young children are unable to complete this daily journey, the village community set up a temporary school in a hut. This school lacked classrooms, furniture, materials, toilets and drinking water. In May 2008, a new school building was completed through a partnership between the CAIRN Trust (with the generous donations of Thomas’s Fulham parents) and the Pahar Trust. The land for the school was kindly donated by a local villager, Mahendra Gurung. The new Annapurna Primary School educates 64 children in pre-primary and primary grades. The school is run by two local teachers who are sponsored by the local community. Students are taught the government recommended curriculum. English language is also introduced from the grade one. The school is open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, six days a week. The CAIRN Trust will continue to carefully monitor this new school to ensure that both the building and supplies are meeting the needs of the students and teachers. Additionally, we have identified several children within the school who are orphaned and vulnerable. These children are not attending school regularly due to the lack to resources and adult/parental support. We will seek to identify and implement an emergency aid program for these children so they are able to take full advantage of their education.