Stories of Impact
Hardwired Leaders in Nepal
Nepal is a religiously diverse country. While Hindus making up 81% of the population, Buddhists, Muslims, Kiratis, Christians, and other minorities, such as Animist groups, represent a significant percent of the population and often work together with secular Hindu groups to secure their interests. Despite the diversity in the country, Nepal hosts a high level of both social hostilities and government restrictions on religion. After an earthquake devastated Nepal in April 2015, the Nepalese parliament was seized with a sudden urgency to draft and pass a new constitution. Groups hostile to religious freedom pushed for a constitution which would strip religious minorities of their rights. Hindu nationalist groups lobbied against the rumored secular constitution and demanded that the document establish Nepal as a Hindu state. Attacks against religious minorities across Nepal quickly escalated, as protests erupted over proposed provisions.
In 2015, Nepal adopted its new constitution, reaffirming the identity of Nepal as a secular state – an achievement accomplished in part by many influential leaders who had been trained by Hardwired. Under the new constitution it will be illegal to speak about one’s faith in public or change what one believes about religion. Hindu nationalists hostile to minorities have accelerated their attacks on groups that supported the secular constitution. We continue to equip and support lawmakers as they implement this constitution in a way that safeguards religious freedom for all. Hardwired continues to provide training to all religious communities and is expanding its programs to government officials who are key players in the implementation of law. By helping these influential leaders understand that religious freedom should be valued and protected, we can ensure that all people in Nepal will be able to live in freedom according to their beliefs.