Children’s home Voice of Children in Kathmandu, Nepal

 

A report of our visit to the Children's home in Nepal, 13 t/m 21 April 2012

  

 

 

Saturday 14th April arrival in Kathmandu

Arie Janssen, member of the Nepal aid group, gave us a contact name, who would arrange a hotel and all kinds of other things for us. His name: Ajay Pant. Ajay came to pick us up from the airport and took us to the hotel. We stayed at Hotel Holy Himalaya. This is located in the tourist district of Thamel, Kathmandu.

 

Sunday 15th April

The wife of Ajay, Suman Pant, guided us along different sights in Kathmandu.

 

Monday 16th April

Today we have a meeting with Sunit Kanahl. Sunit lived in the children's home Sunaulo. Formerly the children's home was sponsored by ChildRight. He also lived there at the time of Henk M., the person who abused the children and now serves his sentence in a Nepalese prison. Sunit told us his whole life story, a harrowing and impressive story. He comes from a very poor family and is put on the street as a small child by his father. To get his daily food, he became involved in child prostitution. After he left the prostitution he got a place in the children's house where unfortunately he was abused by Henk M. Despite everything he has been through, he is very grateful for the opportunities that ChildRight gave him. He has now completed his high school and is under financial supervision by another Dutch organisation named Fairchance. The President is Rens Pothuizen and he is affiliated with our Nepal support group. Through this organization Sunit got the chance to follow a dentist education. He is very aware that everything depends on his behaviour and study results and therefore he does everything within his power to make sure he gets good results. Every day he is in contact with Rens Pothuizen to go through everything, both financially and his private life. Sunit himself has taken 5 children under his wing and gives them extra tutoring and any help that is needed. Because Sunit is still in contact with children living in the children's home, he is aware what is going on and can tell ChildRight about the living circumstances. He is positive about the children's home and at least he can tell that the children enjoy living there and that they are not missing anything. He is very eager to help creating a video that ChildRight can put on their face book account.

 

Tuesday 17th April

We were picked up by a taxi from VOC (Voice of Children). It took us to the VOC headquarters where we had a meeting with Krishna Thapa; Director of VOC. The headquarters of VOC is located in Sanepa, Lalithpur. This is located approx. 5 km from Thamel. Krishna Tahpa received us in his office and was in company of Uttam Dhakal. He is the financial manager of VOC. It was not possible to get more members of the board together at that time as they all have a normal day job. They try to get together 1x per 2 months to discuss the organization. Krishna has given us extensive time and answered all our questions. He has made an overview how VOC works; it gives a good impression of the organization. When the children from Sunaulo moved in the House of VOC, the number was 37. Currently 43 children live in the children's home. We visited the house in Lubhu in the afternoon, where we got a list with the names of the children. Thapa told us that the children are doing fine at the moment. The children from Sunaulo all have had counselling after the abuse by Henk M. Henk M. serves momentarily a 9 years imprisonment in Nepal, of which 5 years has passed. Krishna Tahpa asked whether ChildRight near at the time can help him to request the Government to extradite Henk M. to the Netherlands. They are afraid that Henk M. will disappear again in Nepal to continue the abuse of children. Also the children themselves are afraid that Henk M. will come back to start the abuse again, this is what the boys themselves told us. ChildRight sponsors the House in Lubhu, but this is not enough to cover the monthly costs for the entire VOC organisation. There are other organizations that sponsor but they contribute to other programs of the VOC like Enfants & Development, ECPAT Luxembourg, Partage France and Every Child England. VOC doesn't receive any financial support from the Nepal Government. After this informative meeting we were brought to the children's home in Lubhu. This is situated approx. 13 km from Kathmandu and is situated in the countryside. After the chaos and squalor in Kathmandu it is very quiet and clean in Lubhu. The walk to school takes half an hour but that is normal for Nepalese standards. The children's house actually consists of 2 parts: a house for boys and a house for girls. The house for the girls is considerably smaller and has fewer amenities than the boy's house. To shower and wash their clothes the girls have to go to the boy's house. The houses look clean and are in a good state. We were met by Bharat Thapa (no family), the one who is in charge in the houses. He gave us a list with the names of the children who currently live in the House. The day we visited the house all children were not there, as it was holiday and many boys and girls then visit family or friends. Momentarily, as we saw on the list, 37 children live in the houses of which 6 girls and 31 boys. After a tour of the house, we stayed to talk to some boys and girls. We took some caps of ChildRight with us and some toys, which we handed out. They were received with a lot of enthusiasm. Some last pictures were taken before we were brought back to our hotel.

 

Wednesday 18th April

After all the impressions of the previous days we had a quiet day. We went to a restaurant where a lot of foreigners come and met an Englishman, named Michael McGowan. He is involved in an organisation named Nepali Childrens Trust and he has built a house for Nepalese disabled children. These children need even more attention and he is very busy with this house. He resides half the year in Kathmandu and keeps well informed.

 

Thursday 19th April

This morning we were picked up by Kalpana Basnet. She is social worker of VOC and will bring us to 3 boys, Pushkar, Anil and Surya, all three are 17 years old, who left the Sunaulo/House VOC and are now living on their own while finishing their school. Their apartment is located in Kapan, Kathmandu. It is a small room of 2x2m with 2 beds and a cooking set but the boys are clearly very pleased with it. They receive every month a fixed amount (2,500 rupees) and this is just enough to make ends meet. Sometimes it is a bit more difficult like for instance if the gas bottle is empty and they have to save on everything else. Beside the fixed amount, they receive twice a year clothes. In principle, this should be enough as there is always a school uniform to be worn. The school consists of 12 classes. The first 10 classes they attend while they are staying in the children's home. After the first 10 classes they do their exams and when they pass their exams they move out of the children's home to live on their own or if possible with a family member. This is not very common because often there is something wrong with that family member (addicted to, violent, too poor). That is a good reason for the boys and girls to remain in the House. But if it is possible, VOC tries to place a child with their family. The last 3 months of the 10th class the children receive beside their regular education also a short training as bricklayer, carpenter, etc. to make it possible in the last 2 classes to support themselves in their daily living. According to the boys we have spoken, this is very difficult since they also have to study a lot and the distances to school are long because of the very bad roads. After these 12 classes the sponsoring stops and the boys have to support themselves. They still ask ChildRight for help and also other organizations to sponsor them so they can start another study because otherwise it is an almost impossible task. We asked the boys what they need the most at the moment and the answer was new clothes, which incidentally was very obvious. We took along the boys to buy a new pair of trousers, a shirt and shoes. Of course a picture had to been taken and they were very happy with their new outfits. Kalpana Basnet told us that of all the boys and girls at VOC records are made. She showed us a few. The file describes what has happened to a child, what is needed, on both physical and mental levels. Regular team meetings are held where different children are discussed. The children also have to describe their own state of mind and goals after which the team discusses them. Kalpana also visit the families of the children or what is still left of them, to see whether the possibility exists for the children to return to their family. This is often very difficult since there is a lot of poverty and often there are addiction problems. It's clear that Kalpana has a very good relationship with the children.

 

Friday 20th April

Today we have an appointment with Bharat Thapa of the children's House to buy for all children new clothes. Eventually, after a whole morning searching and negotiating, we managed to find for all children new jeans, a shirt and shoes. After this we went back to the children's home where we gave the new clothes to all the children. The children were very happy with the clothes and they all wanted to be photographed with their new clothes on.

 

Saturday 21st April

Full of impressions and stories we departed to the Netherlands.