Yakkha in Nepal


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest Nepal census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The Yakha (or Yakkha) are an indigenous people living in nearly 600 villages throughout the mountains of eastern Nepal. They live throughout the Kosi Zone, primarily south of the city of Chainpur. Of Mongolian descent, they speak Yakkha, a part of the Tibeto-Burman language family.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Nepal is predominantly an agricultural nation. The Yakha subsist primarily as mountain and valley farmers. Men have a tradition of migrating to the cities for work and sending money back to their families.


The primary livelihoods of the Yakha are agriculture and animal husbandry. Most Yakha can own their own land and raise small herds. They grow rice, maize and potatoes. They trade some of their crops for goods that they cannot grow in their homeland. Families work hard together in their farming efforts. Men plow the fields, women plant the seeds, and at harvest time both sexes complete the job. During harvest, families will often help one another with the work, especially during busy times. They typically live in two-storied houses made of timber, mud and stone and covered with thatched roofs. Many Yakha intermarry with members of the Limbu and Rai tribes because their cultures are similar. In most marriages, the boy chooses the girl he wishes to marry. If her parents agree to it, the wedding can take place regardless of what the girl says. Because of intermixing with other Nepalese groups, many Yakha men and women have adapted somewhat to Nepalese culture. Many Yakha are now bilingual, speaking basic Nepali as their second language.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Yakha were traditionally animists, worshiping the deities and spirits of nature. Today, however, many identify as Buddhists. A few have embraced Hindu customs and beliefs because of their exposure to Nepalese and Indian culture. The Yakha celebrate and observe all the important Hindu festivals, such as Durga puja and Diwali, the festival of lights. Yakha also engage in ancestor worship (praying to deceased relatives for guidance, blessings and protection). Their priests play an important role. At festival times, they perform marriage and death rites, as well as the puja, or worship ceremonies. There is a tiny number of Yakha who claim to be followers of Christ.


What Are Their Needs?

The government of Nepal is opposed to any form of proselytizing. However, most of the time, Christians can follow their religion. There are more problems from family members than from the government. Among the Yakha, they consider Christianity a low-caste or foreign religion. As a result, many Yakha are anti-Christian. Threatened separation from family and tribe is a formidable barrier to most people in the Yakha culture. The Yakha also have a strong desire to hold on to cultural and religious traditions, and Christianity is outside of these.


One key to reaching the Yakha with the gospel, however, may be their desire and deep respect for traits such as honesty and kindness. Believers who have opportunities to live Christ-filled lives before the Yakha may gain their respect and point them to the Lord Jesus. The Yakha would benefit from access to modern medicine and solar panels.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Yakha people of Nepal. Pray that God will open the hearts of Nepal’s governmental leaders to Christ’s ambassadors. Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong, Bible-based church planting movement among the Yakha people of Nepal.


Pray for entire Yakha families to embrace Jesus Christ.


Scripture Prayers for the Yakkha in Nepal.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-08-14
People Name General Yakkha
People Name in Country Yakkha
Pronunciation yah-KAH
Population this Country 27,000
Population all Countries 34,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Dewan; Dewansala; Kakka; Lhorong; Phaga; Phhaga; Roi; Yakhhaba Sala; Yakka; Yakkha; Yakkhaba Cea; Yakthomba; यखा
People ID 15957
ROP3 Code 110935
Country Nepal
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country They live in nearly 600 villages throughout the mountains of eastern Nepal. They are found throughout the Koshi Zone but are primarily just south of the city of Chainpur. A migrant community of Yakha has moved to north-east India in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, and in Sikkim.   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States on file 12
Largest States
Kosi
17,000
Narayani
5,000
Mechi
3,500
Lumbini
800
Bagmati
500
Janakpur
400
Sagarmatha
200
Bheri
200
Mahakali
100
Seti
60
Gandaki
60
Rapti
10
Country Nepal
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country They live in nearly 600 villages throughout the mountains of eastern Nepal. They are found throughout the Koshi Zone but are primarily just south of the city of Chainpur. A migrant community of Yakha has moved to north-east India in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, and in Sikkim..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States 12
  Kosi 17,000
  Narayani 5,000
  Mechi 3,500
  Lumbini 800
  Bagmati 500
  Janakpur 400
  Sagarmatha 200
  Bheri 200
  Mahakali 100
  Seti 60
  Gandaki 60
  Rapti 10
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Yakkha (19,000 speakers)
Language Code ybh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
Nepali
5,000
Tibetan, Central
Primary Language Yakkha (19,000 speakers)
Language Code ybh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
  Nepali 5,000
  Tibetan, Central 10
People Groups Speaking Yakkha

Primary Language:  Yakkha

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2014)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Yakkha
General Gospel resources links
Text / Printed Matter The Ancient Path
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
2.82 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.72 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
24.99 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
70.60 %
Unknown
0.87 %
* From latest Nepal census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  International Mission Board-SBC  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more