Nepali is a language with a rich heritage of written and oral tradition. It is the national as well as the official language of Nepal. It is heavily used as the medium of education and mass media in the country. Besides its native speakers, approximately half of the population (who have their own native languages) also use Nepali as their lingua franca. Outside Nepal, it has been granted the status of a language listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India and is also widely spoken in neighbouring countries such as Bhutan and Myanmar. The diaspora of Nepali speakers is comprised of more than 45 million people in Nepal and elsewhere. Despite this fact, its access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has so far remained extremely marginal and inadequate.
It is in this setting that NeLRaLEC (Nepali Language Resources and Localization for Education and Communication) project, referred to as Bhasha Sanchar (in Nepali), has been envisaged and undertaken. This three-year (2005-2007) project will serve the ICT needs of local communities and citizens, and provide an input into sustainable development, by developing and deploying software technologies that work in Nepali.