Dang District

Dang is in the midwestern part of Nepal, in the Terai lowland. There are two great valleys in this area: Dang valley in the north and Deukhuri valley in the south. Most of the district, about two thirds, is covered with jungle.

Dang is rich in natural resources, with both coal, limestone, copper and petrol to be found here. Apart from this, most part of the land is used for agriculture and most households (about two thirds) in Dang depend on agriculture as their main source of income.

As in the whole of Nepal, there are many different ethnic and social groups living here, speaking many different languages such as Nepali, Tharu, Manger and Gurung. They also belong to many different castes and religions. The population counting from 2068 (2011) estimates that people of 62 different castes live in Dang, the main ones being Tharus, Chettris, Magars, Brahmins and Kamis.

The people of this district also speak 21 different languages. Two thirds of people speak Nepali, and the second biggest language is Tharu. Most people are Hindus, but there are for example Buddhists, Christians and Muslims living here too. The literacy rate is currently around 70%, and there are a lot of both private and public schools and colleges, as well as one Sanskrit university.

In SWANs main working area, most people belong to the Tharu community. In this community, it is common to depend on daily jobs, for example on farms. The Tharu community has historically been both socially and economically marginalized.  Many Tharus have worked as bonded domestic labourers, which is called Kamaiya or Kamlari. This is still a big issue in some parts of the district, although the practice was banned in 2013.

As a consequence of this system, another big issue for many Tharu communities today is that of land rights, or rather the lack of it, creating both financial and social insecurity. The living standard for Tharus are generally lower than in other groups, and the literacy rate is often very low.

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