Lumbini Social Service Foundation (LSSF) is a grassroots, donation funded organization that serves and empowers the local rural communities in and around Lumbini Nepal through integrated efforts in education, social service and health care.  Since 2003, LSSF has worked largely with girls and women's education as a tool for transformation of the stereotyped roles of women in Nepalese society, ultimately empowering the entire village community's capacity for sustainable health, education, and vocational growth.
Background:
Situated in the plains of the beautiful Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, Lumbini, the sacred birthplace of the Buddha has been nominated as a World Heritage and Peace Site.  Despite a history, which brought the world teachings of compassion and inclusion, in modern times, UNICEF has identified the Lumbini area in Nepal as one of the most critical zones for girls’ discrimination and child marriage problems.  Girls in Lumbini are often married as young as 10 years of age and face a life of no education, poverty and labour only to perpetuate this cycle. National education statistics report that only 33% of students in Nepal are girls, but this figure is even lower in Lumbini where the average female literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world - at only 18%. (IBS, CFN, 2001) Girls are often seen as a burden, as someone else’s daughter to raise because they will be married and have to go live with and take care of the husband’s family. Parents have to pay such large dowries, to get their daughters married, that the family could be indebted for decades. The younger the girl is the less the dowry, the less long the family needs to provide care for the child.  In poor families education is seen as a wasted investment and girls usually receive less nutrition and medical care. Lack of girls’ education contributes to many other problems such as lack of basic health and hygiene in families, which in turn, results in high infant and mother mortality rates and severe malnutrition.