Sherpa in Nepal


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Sherpa of Nepal are a distinct group from the Helambu Sherpa. A sub-group of the Bhotia, the Sherpa are a Tibetan-related ethnic group living in the high valleys of eastern Nepal. The name Sherpa is derived from the Tibetan word sharpa, meaning "people from the East." The Sherpa are a warm and friendly people, ingrained with kindness and generosity.

Most Sherpa live in the Solu-Khumbu region in the northern part of the Sagarmatha district. However, several thousand Sherpa live in colonies in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, in the city of Darjeeling, and in Indian hill towns. Most Sherpa villages are located on the southern slopes of the Himalayan range around the base of Mount Everest.

The Sherpa are skilled guides and porters. In 1953, they gained worldwide attention (as well as a tourist industry) when a Sherpa climber named Tenzing Norgay accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mount Everest.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Sherpa villages range anywhere from a few households to more than one hundred houses. A Sherpa family unit consists of the nuclear family living in a single household and sharing a joint economy. Houses are at least two stories, the upper story being a one-room living quarter and the lower story serving as an animal shed and storage area. When the youngest son marries, he inherits the farmhouse and half of the fields. He also must take care of his parents. The older sons receive the remaining fields as their inheritance. A middle son will often bring honor to his family by attending a monastery in order to become a lama, or holy man.

In the past, marriages have always been arranged by the family. This tradition seems to be changing with the increase of Western influence. Also, divorce is quite frequent, occurring in an estimated one-third of Sherpa marriages.

There are few government schools in the Solu-Khumbu region, making it necessary for children to walk long distances to school. For this reason, children do not attend school regularly, although the government requires three years of education. It may take a child six years to complete this requirement. The lack of education among the Sherpa has resulted in a literacy rate of only less than one-third.

Trading is an important economic activity for the Sherpa. The men make long trading expeditions and are often gone for many months, leaving the remaining duties to the women. The Sherpa often act as middlemen between Tibetan traders and those from the lower-lying regions of Nepal. Working as middlemen has enabled the Sherpa to attain higher standards of living than those of other hill people.

Tourism provides the Sherpa with alternative activities and sources of income. The people use their homes as overnight shelters for mountain-climbing expeditions, and they also work as cooks, porters, and guides. Overall, tourist-related jobs are becoming more and more prevalent in Sherpa economy.

The Sherpa language is a dialect of Tibetan and is part of the family of languages to which many other Nepali languages belong. All Sherpa speak Nepali, the official language of Nepal. While Sherpa is not a written language, many Sherpa are literate in Tibetan, Nepali, and occasionally, Hindu and English.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Religion has a very strong hold on the Sherpa. The Sherpa generally follow the Tibetan form of Buddhism combined with animism (the belief that non-human objects have spirits). These beliefs encompass everything the Sherpa do. They follow folk beliefs and perceive spirits everywhere. The Sherpa celebrate many festivals that involve a combination of religion and magic.


What Are Their Needs?

Only a small percentage of the Sherpa have been reached for Christ. The people need much prayer so that their hearts will be prepared to receive the Gospel message.


Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into Nepal to minister to the needs of the Sherpa.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies currently working among the Sherpa.
* Pray that Christian materials will be translated into the Sherpa language.
* Pray that God will give Sherpa believers boldness to share the love of Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing Sherpa church for the glory of His name!


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-09-04
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-08-01
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-07-18
People Name General Sherpa
People Name in Country Sherpa
Population in Nepal 107,000
World Population 156,700
Total Countries 5
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
Progress Scale 1
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Bhotia, Drukpa, Khambuwan, Manang, Serwa, Sharpa, Sharpa Bhotia, Sherdukpen, Solu, Solu-Khambuwan, Toto, Xiaerba, Xiarba, Yelmo, शेरपा
People ID 14906
ROP3 Code 108938
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Solu Khumbu District, Sagarmatha Zone.   Source:  www.ethnologue.com
Total States on file 13
Largest States
Bagmati
30,000
Sagarmatha
29,000
Mechi
17,000
Kosi
16,000
Janakpur
12,000
Lumbini
800
Gandaki
600
Narayani
400
Bheri
300
Dhaulagiri
200
Rapti
100
Mahakali
100
Seti
80
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Solu Khumbu District, Sagarmatha Zone..   Source:  www.ethnologue.com
Total States 13
  Bagmati 30,000
  Sagarmatha 29,000
  Mechi 17,000
  Kosi 16,000
  Janakpur 12,000
  Lumbini 800
  Gandaki 600
  Narayani 400
  Bheri 300
  Dhaulagiri 200
  Rapti 100
  Mahakali 100
  Seti 80
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Sherpa (102,000 speakers)
Language Code xsr   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 10
Secondary Languages
Nepali
7,600
Tibetan, Central
100
Chamling
70
Yamphu
60
Chepang
20
Limbu
10
Lhowa
10
Bine Hyolmo
Other People Groups Speaking Sherpa
Primary Language Sherpa (102,000 speakers)
Language Code xsr   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 10
Secondary Languages
  Nepali 7,600
  Tibetan, Central 100
  Chamling 70
  Yamphu 60
  Chepang 20
  Limbu 10
  Lhowa 10
  Bine 0
  Hyolmo 0
People Groups Speaking Sherpa

Primary Language:  Sherpa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1975-2008)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2014)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Portions
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Sherpa
Text / Printed Matter Bible: कोन्छ्‌योककी सुङ
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
94.26 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
4.23 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
1.25 %
Unknown
0.25 %
Photo Source COMIBAM / Sepal 
Map Source Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Nepal census data.  Current values may differ.


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