Surya Gurung

Ashoka Fellow
Kathmandu, Nepal
Fellow Since 1992


This profile was prepared when Surya Gurung was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
Because of the last decade's great improvements in public health care, more and more countries in Asia, Nepal included, are suddenly facing an unprecedented growth in the number and proportion of older people in the population. This demographic shift, interacting with a series of equally profound economic and social changes, has left the legal system increasingly out of date and a source of suffering rather than a safeguard for older people.
Surya and Yubarajraj are conducting a national survey of old people to determine how the country's land tenure and family laws, among others, are functioning in these new circumstances and what the consequences for older people are. It will give them an objective measure both of the economics and other conditions of life facing different groups of older Nepalese and also of legal contributing causes to the deterioration they see in their day-to-day representation of older people.
Armed with the survey's results they plan to design a set of law reforms that will restore some of the quality of life older people have lost by the last decade's legal inadvertence. They especially want to protect older parents from being turned out of their homes by children eager to sell farm land that has appreciated substantially in value. Once they have developed this law reform agenda, they will have the largest part of the task still to go, helping other Nepalese recognize the changes that have occurred and shepherding their proposed reforms through to actual implementation.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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