Population: 30.5 million (2011)
Major religion: Hinduism
Official language: Nepali
IFES movement: Nepal Biswabidyalaya Christia BidyartiSangati (NBCBS)
Hinduism is practised by about 81% of Nepalese people, Christianity by about 1.42 %. People tend to think that Nepalese Christians have exchanged indigenous religion for economic benefit and that Christianity is a foreign religion. There is a great division between the education available to rich and poor – education is free only until high school.
- 9 universities, 735 colleges, 3596 higher secondary schools; IFES groups in about 25%
- 10 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff, 50 volunteers
- both high school and a graduate ministry with about 175 actively involved graduates
- largest group in Kathmandu valley (150 students), smallest is the Doti group (50 students) in one of the remote districts of far western Nepal
The strength of the NBCBS ministry is their long-standing commitment to loving fellowship, which has impacted colleges, campuses and even communities. They have seen students being freed from various types of addictions. This has all been underpinned by faithful prayer cells and Bible study. The movement also works well with local churches.
Financial struggles are an on-going problem for NBCBS. Students are aware of their parents’ sacrifices in paying for their studies and are unwilling to focus on anything beyond these studies. Potential graduate supporters are struggling to provide for their young families. Churches have their own financial challenges. This means the number of NBCBS staff is not enough to make the most of opportunities that are arising across the country.
View from the inside
Ram Kumar Lama (Sharad) was appointed General Secretary of NBCBS Nepal in 2012. He is inspired by the example of two former general secretaries who had to work without being paid at times for up to three months. He comments, ‘They did not give up but persevered; such events of sacrificial commitment and faith have been inspirational for the new generation, not only for me.’
Sharad is challenged by Ezekiel 22:30: ‘I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.’
- for staff, students and supporters to be free from the mentality of poverty which discourages them from seeking innovative solutions to problems;
- for Christian students to continue to show Christ’s love and overcome society’s prejudice against their faith;
- for committed graduate supporters;
- for greater partnership with other Christian organisations.