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CDO is a non-government, non-profit organization in Nepal, dedicated to relieving the distress of people living in extreme poverty. CDO works to improve the lives of underprivileged people, children working in brick and carpet factories, internally displaced people and women in need by providing medical care, health awareness & training, both formal and informal education, and empowerment of through skill development. CDO provides support for whole families, and special attention is given to the welfare of women and children.
When visiting Nepal, the abundance of natural beauty and cultural treasures make it easy to overlook the dire poverty that exists here – not only in the villages of the difficult-to-access mountain regions, but also in plain view of every tourist in and around Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu. During the years of the Nepalese Civil War (from 1996 until 2006), more than 15,000 people were killed, and many people left their remote villages which were devastated by the conflict. They sought shelter in the country’s capital, and thus an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people – many of them women and children – were stranded with nothing in Kathmandu. These so-called internally displaced persons – i.e. refugees within their own country – became a common sight in the city: People barely dressed were begging in the streets and orphaned children were fending for themselves without anyone to take care of them. Without the possibility of sustaining themselves in their native villages, the majority of the displaced people stayed in the Kathmandu valley even after the end of the war, and many of them eventually found work as seasonal laborers in one of the numerous brick factories that have sprung up there within the last decade. Brick factory work, however, is low-wage, and very physically taxing, and entails carrying heavy loads of bricks all day long, six days a week. Furthermore, their constant exposure to the dust of the bricks makes this work very unhealthy.
CDO was founded in 2005, in order to support these displaced persons. Five Outreach Programs have been started, addressing the needs of different groups of people. Two of these outreach programs offer health care to the workers of the brick factories and provide education for their children. Another outreach program targets inhabitants of remote villages. Further programs are directed at the empowerment of single women and the care of displaced children.