Sungdel is nestled at the source of the Rawa river, tucked into a steep valley amongst forested peaks. We can reach Sungdel after a grueling 14 hours drive from the capital Kathmandu – first smooth ride of about 8 hours in paved road followed by bumpy ride through new dusty roads.

View of the Rawa River Valley in Sungdel. The school on the foreground is Chandra Primary School which we reconstructed in 2016 after damage by April 2015 earthquake.

Sungdel is unique as the only place on Earth where the Koyee Rai language and culture is spoken and practiced. There are 554 households and a total population of 3,372 people.

The main occupation of people here is traditional subsistence farming. Thanks in part to our income generation programs, black cardamom and the medicinal herb chirito are a growing source of income for many households. Cardamom and Chiraito have recently become a good source of income for many households. In recent times, like anywhere else in Nepal and in all our other working areas, migration abroad and remittance funds have become a very important source of income.

The Rawa Khola river, originates in a high forested cirque called “Rawa Dhap”. Nearby, the Lauri Danda and Chilme Dhunga peaks tower over the community. The latter is considered sacred to the Koyee, as this is where all of their ancestors go in the afterlife.