Projects in South Asia

Note: This is a small selection of our projects. Not all projects shown.

The Women Transforming the Slums of Thane, India

Poonam Nair (pictured) is a social worker with Saahasee, one of TEAR’s Indian partners. She works in the slums of Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai, with women’s Self-Help Groups. Through her personal journey, she shares her insight into what happens when women are encouraged to gather, learn their rights, advocate to change their circumstances, and empowered to contribute to improving their communities.

My Background

I’m from a very simple background. When I was ten, I lost my mother. I then had to take the responsibility for my younger brother, who was 6 at that time. Being raised by my…

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The Women Transforming the Slums of Thane, India

Women’s Groups in Mazar, Afghanistan

With years of experience living and working in Afghanistan, Phil Sparrow doubted that women’s Self-Help Groups could cross the cultural familial bounds and succeed in this context. Happy to be proven wrong, he recently visited groups which are not only flourishing, but seeking broader social change.

I visited Mazar-i-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan recently. We had lived in Mazar for some years under the Taliban, as TEAR Fieldworkers, and the chance to visit again and reconnect with some old friends and see some new work was one I took up with glee. That’s right, I was gleeful, and you don’t…

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Women’s Groups in Mazar, Afghanistan

Empowering Community Participation, Nepal

Bhima Pun’s life is very much like that of so many women in the hilly rural areas of Nepal. She wakes up early in the morning, often before sunrise. The house needs to be swept first, and then she sets out on the trek to get water for her family. These days it’s just a short walk to the gravity-fed water point near her house, but it used to take hours to walk to a reasonably clean water source and return with her heavy pot of water. Although this was just one of her many daily tasks, it took so much time and energy that Bhima wasn’t able to be involved in much else. Bhima and her friends…

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Empowering Community Participation, Nepal

Access all Entitlements, India

TEAR’s partner EFICOR helps communities access the government schemes to which they are entitled, enabling both communities and government services to flourish.

Often, the most significant transformation in a community is not the one that is most immediately obvious to the eye. In Khairi Mushari village in India, the community achievement that does immediately stand out is a brand-new, bright pink flood shelter (pictured above) built high over the flat plains. It’s their first community building, the result of years of planning by the village Disaster Management Committee (DMC) – a group…

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Access all Entitlements, India

Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health, Nepal

Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health

While most advocacy undertaken through TEAR’s partners is on a local community level, some of our partners are involved in influencing national government policies and funding.

In Nepal, TEAR’s partner CMC (the Centre for Mental Health and Counselling) works in remote regions to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness, particularly through community awareness-raising and non-clinical psycho-social support, such as Self-Help Groups. To complement this, CMC engages with Nepal’s Department of Health to influence and shape national…

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Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health, Nepal

Nepal Earthquake Evaluation

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015 twenty Integral Members came together to respond, making it our largest Integral Disaster Response to date. A further two agencies opted in when they joined Integral, making a total of 22 Members combining their efforts for earthquake affected communities. As part of our one year evaluation of this response, Integral held a learning review workshop in Nepal to reflect and learn from how Members worked together. Phil Lindsay, TEAR Australia’s Development Effectiveness Officer, took part, and here he shares his experience of the 5 day…

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Nepal Earthquake Evaluation

Cheaper, healthier stoves make a difference to daily life in Pakistan

Can a stove be beautiful? We think Langar’s is. With support from our partner SSEWA-Pak in Pakistan, Langar and her husband Mana Ram have constructed a fuel-efficient stove, which has made a helpful difference to their daily life. Not only is the stove cheaper to run and better for the environment, but less smoke in the house makes for healthier lungs too.

With four sons to feed, Langar does a lot of cooking. She says this stove is twice as efficient as her previous one, enabling her to cook both bread and tea in the morning before everyone goes off to work – saving time!

Langar says: “We…

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Cheaper, healthier stoves make a difference to daily life in Pakistan

Vegetable Gardens, Bangladesh

Bangladeshi woman Jacinta Holder is proud of her thriving vegetable patch. “I feel very pleased every day,” she says. “Morning and evening I'm coming to the garden.” With support from TEAR’s partner Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development (BASD), Jacinta, a mother of two girls, turned her land into a productive garden. BASD works with Self-Help Groups and runs kitchen garden training in her community. Jacinta learnt how to improve her soil by using vermi-compost and now has a successful crop of okra, jute, beans, stem amaranth and cucumber. She is able to sell excess produce for a…

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Vegetable Gardens, Bangladesh

Health and Nutrition Education, Nepal

Little Subiraj is only 20 months old and is acutely malnourished. His mother, Animaya, brought him to a health clinic in Dhading, Nepal, where TEAR’s partner United Mission to Nepal (UMN) has established a nutrition program. Here, UMN staff member Rina is feeding Subiraj some therapeutic food, a highly nutritious peanut product designed for emergencies.

After being diagnosed as severely underweight, Subiraj was admitted to a community-based program. Over time, as part of the program, he will hopefully gain weight and begin to thrive.

As well as the health clinics, UMN’s health team have…

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Health and Nutrition Education, Nepal

Keeping Kids in School (Pakistan)

Educational access is a major challenge in Pakistan. Due to distance, cost and cultural barriers, many children (especially girls like Kaku, pictured) don’t even enrol in school and one quarter drop out before completing primary education.

Despite these barriers, Kaku’s community, together with the support of TEAR’s partner the Diocese of Hyderabad and the government, are working together to establish community schools, creating a brighter future for their children.

Prior to 2005, only ten boys of all the eligible primary school-age children in this rural village in Sindh province were…

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Keeping Kids in School (Pakistan)

The Hanging Gardens of Bangladesh

Across the vast low-lying plains of Bangladesh, millions of families farm tiny patches of rich alluvial soil. Emerald fields may stretch as far as the eye can see, but not all of the land is good, and not all of the yield is sufficient. In the coastal areas, where families earn a living from fishing, many struggle to grow any food at all.

The poorest people often live on the poorest land, and many still struggle to feed their families. Faith in Action and BASD are two of TEAR’s partners helping families on marginal land find their own unique ways to grow food.

TEAR’s partner BASD supports…

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The Hanging Gardens of Bangladesh

Hothouses in the Himalayas

Too cold to grow veggies, and too isolated to buy them, families in rural Nepal used to suffer malnutrition. TEAR's partner the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) is turning sheets of plastic into mini veggie gardens. These simple hothouses are now hotbeds for health.

The town of Jumla, in the mid-western region of Nepal, is high in the Himalayas. The views are breath-taking, but the residents have little time to enjoy the snow-capped mountains as they struggle to put food on the table and meet daily needs.

At an altitude of over 2400 metres, Jumla is extremely cold for most of the year,…

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Hothouses in the Himalayas

Seeking refuge, finding hope

The Hebrew name Hagar means “one who flees” or “one who seeks refuge”. The biblical story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, tells the story of women and children who are exploited, trafficked, disabled, and rejected.

In Afghanistan, there are many “Hagars”. TEAR’s partner organisation, Hagar, is working with these vulnerable women and children, many who are survivors of family violence, trafficking and human rights abuse. Staff members are guided by the story of Hagar, asking: “Who has been cast out? Who is without hope? Whose cries are not being heard?”

TEAR supports Hagar’s Empowering Women…

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Seeking refuge, finding hope

A community changemaker

TEAR's Kelly Rae shares the story of a woman named Golapi, who lives in Hasha Mazalia village in North West Bangladesh.

The sun burned down on my neck as I walked with staff from our partner organisation, Symbiosis, along a winding path to reach the village where Golapi lives. As we approached the village, we were welcomed by a group of women and their children, their bright smiles and vibrantly patterned clothes in sharp contrast with the brown dusty surrounds. Looking around, I could see that for people here, life was difficult. Nestled under a huge shady tree, homes were quite small and…

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A community changemaker

Living Here and There: Sri Lanka’s Displaced

For most people “home” is more than a place to live; it’s a place of belonging and of family, and for many a source of livelihood and security within a community. For many people in northern Sri Lanka during 2009, their sense of home was destroyed as the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger troops fought their battles through fields, villages and roads. Nearly half a million people were forced to flee, leaving behind home and its comforts, security and their way of life.

Mrs SK left her home when shells were landing in her yard. “The shelling came like a train overhead,” she said. She and her two…

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Living Here and There: Sri Lanka’s Displaced

Postcard - Kelly Rae in Bangladesh

After hours of jolting travel on unsealed roads, and a short boat ride, there is a flurry of excitement and questions when we arrive at Raypasha village in Magura, southern Bangladesh.

Today I’m travelling with TEAR partner Faith in Action. We left early for the field areas where their staff live and work. The project we are visiting helps women form into groups, teaches them basic literacy and numeracy skills, then supports them as they save and access loans for small business activities. 

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Postcard - Kelly Rae in Bangladesh

EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

What causes community disintegration? Anyone working in community transformation or, indeed, those living in communities in distress will tell you that just as there is no one symptom, there is no one cause.

EFICOR, an Indian Christian organisation, has run projects with thousands of poor and marginalised communities over its 47 years, many of them supported by TEAR Australia. Their community-based agriculture projects have trained farmers across the country, enabling them to make the most from their land. But only in the last few years have they been forced to introduce a new element to…

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EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

Safeguarding the Environment - Nepal

Caring for the Environment

No matter how much money you’ve got, a clean and green environment improves well-being. Enabling communities to improve their environment can mean better soil productivity, sanitation, fuel and food supply, but it also gives shade and beauty – and you can’t put a price on that.

This gift supports a variety of projects that help to protect the environment from degradation and safeguard it for generations to come. Activities may include tree planting to reduce soil erosion, community education and supporting local environmental groups to help care for the…

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Safeguarding the Environment - Nepal

Creative solutions to climate change in Nepal

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with changing weather and increased flooding and landslides. TEAR’s Paul Hansen reports on how our partners are working in a variety of ways to support people affected by changes to their environment.

As a trained water and sanitation engineer, I’ve often been accused of having an unhealthy interest in toilets. So it would surprise none of my friends that when one of the members of the Self-Help Group I met on a recent trip to Nepal, a woman named Premi Devi Chaudhary, tells me she has built a biogas1 toilet, I couldn’t help…

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Creative solutions to climate change in Nepal

India: The Power of the Collective Voice

"Saahasee is called by God's love to see every poor home in our nation empowered and celebrating life in community where dignity, freedom and justice prevail."
- Saahasee vision statement

Vijay Lakshmi is named after the Hindu goddess of wealth and her name means “successful”. She married early, at around 16, and lives with her husband and his family in a room 3 metres square. Her husband is an unskilled labourer, and when they married, providing food every day was difficult.

Vijay lives in a culture where women are relegated to the fringes of justice, dignity, freedom and, sadly, even…

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India: The Power of the Collective Voice

Self-Help Groups in Afghanistan

Afghan women. In the news media, they are most often pictured clothed from head to toe in bright blue burqas. Vision obscured by mesh grilles, so you can’t even see their eyes. Begging on the street. Wailing at the loss of yet another child, a husband, a parent. Or sitting in mute despair at the site of a suicide bomb.

But there are other images of Afghan women, less commonly seen. Women marching to mark International Women’s Day. Women speaking up for their rights using poetry, the written word and the internet. Women taking their place in the National Parliament, or taking roles in the…

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Self-Help Groups in Afghanistan

Improving Mental Health in Nepal

Mental health is something we often think of as a “western” issue, but in countries like Nepal, where suicide is the leading cause of death for women of child-bearing age, it’s also a serious concern. TEAR’s Paul Hansen recently visited one of TEAR’s partners in Nepal, the Centre for Mental Health and Counselling (CMC), who is taking an innovative approach to working with those struggling with mental health.

There are some things I expected when travelling in Nepal, like creative approaches to electrical wiring in hotel rooms and having your vehicle equipped with a red and green flashing…

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Improving Mental Health in Nepal

Rewriting the story of maternal and child health in Afghanistan

The birth of a baby is meant to be a time of joy and excitement, but for many women living in Afghanistan it’s a time of great uncertainty and risk. Here, one in eight mothers die while giving birth, usually in their homes and often in remote areas. In the lead up to the birth, only 16% of women have access to a trained health care practitioner.

The Birth Life Saving Skills (BLiSS) program, developed by TEAR’s partner Operation Mercy, is helping to improve these statistics, and make a real difference in the lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan. BLiSS is a health education program that…

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Rewriting the story of maternal and child health in Afghanistan

Community Development Program: Safe Water

Safe water

Poor quality water can lead to health issues and illness that prevents people from living a full life, participating in activities education and earning a living.

Having safe water makes a huge difference to communities living in poverty overseas, enabling them to lead happier and healthier lives.

Simple changes improve health in Afghanistan

The Afghanistan we hear about in the news is one of conflict and insecurity, but for the people living there, there is more to the story. Most are struggling with basic issues like finding clean water to drink or having access to adequate…

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Community Development Program: Safe Water

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