In Nepal, we are working with local partners to help older people secure a livelihood, access healthcare and claim their rights. We work in ten districts from the far Western district, Kailali, to the East, in Ilam and Jhapa.
HelpAge has helped to set up 80 older people's associations across the country. They are local groups run by older people for older people. They help to reduce poverty in rural areas by creating community projects, opportunities for self-employment and solidarity among members.
Life story: Krishna, 75
Photo: Sarah Hertzog/HelpAge International 2010 Nepal introduced a universal pension scheme in 1995, the first of its kind in the region.
In 2009, the age of eligibility was lowered from 75 to 70 and the government increased the amount to 500 rupees (US$6.50) per person per month.
Krishna is 75 and receives the pension which is vital for paying his medical bills.
He said: "I live with my wife and we have three daughters and two sons. Only one son is unmarried and lives at home with us, as he has psychiatric problems and is unable to work.
"Both my wife and I receive the pension. Sadly my wife is sick with intestinal problems and so the pension money is spent on my son and then on my wife's medication.
"Very often I have to take my son to the specialist hospitals for treatment and the constant travel is very expensive.
"Our pension is a very important source of income to us. I heard about the pension from the radio, as they announced that they had changed the eligibility age.
"I feel that the pension is just enough, as it covers medical costs for both my son and my wife."
Supporting older people in Nepal
In the last year, we have worked to support older people in several areas:
Older people's associations
- We have set up two older people's monitoring groups to register older people for the universal pension scheme.
- We have set up 23 older people's associations and given them grants to start their own businesses.
- Due to our advocacy work, the Government has agreed to build and manage a designated age-friendly ward in one of Nepal�s community hospitals.
- We have worked with the Government to revise the National Work Plan for Senior Citizens, which will cover all aspects of older people's lives, such as access to health and a secure income.
- With our partners, we took part in the country's first ever National Senior Citizens Festival. It was inaugurated by the Honorable President of Nepal, His Excellency Dr Ram Baran Yadav and people over the age of 100 were given gifts.
- With out partner Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh, we screened 23,575 older people for cataracts and carried out 2,100 cataracts operations in 55 eye camps across the country.
In the next year, we will continue working to support older people:
- Through our older citizien's monitoring work, we will ensure that 4,000 older people, 8,000 of their family members and about 400 government representatives are informed about the Government's social security and protection system.
- We will provide over 400 older people with grants that can be used to earn an income, for example by setting up a business.
- We will screen at least 25,000 older people for cataracts and carry out at least 2,500 cataracts operations through our partner, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh.
Ageing Nepal, Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN), Geriatric Centre of Nepal Women for Human Rights, Women for Human Rights: Single Women's Group (WHR), The National Federation for Senior Citizens, Sankalpa Nepal, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh.
Age International, HelpAge International, HelpAge Germany, Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) Germany.