Sunita and Sarika
The Shree Neel Barahi Higher Secondary School brought these two sisters to the notice of KIKN’s Chief Officer in September 2012 during her annual visit to Nepal. Sunita is 12 years old and Sarika is 10 years old.
Their father is a vegetable seller in the local market. In March 2012, the girls’ mother died. Their father soon remarried and their step-mother moved in very quickly following the death of their mother. She was pregnant and now has a young son.
Typically, poorer families in Kathmandu rent a room, no
bigger than 12 foot by 10 foot in a block of multi-
occupied rooms with shared washing, sanitary and cleaning facilities. There is usually a well in the courtyard for communal use. The whole family lives, cooks, eats and sleeps in the one rented room. The room is dark with no window or natural light.
Each morning, Sunita, the elder girl, will wake up at 4am and get herself to the local market to pick up any discarded fruit and vegetable from the wholesaler. This is done before she attends her English class at the orphanage and she then goes on to school each day. Following the end of the school day, Sunita sells the fruit by the roadside. Each day she will usually make about 100 Nepali rupees (63 pence in GBP) and she gives all the money to her stepmother.
During the initial period after the step-mother moved into the family home, it was reported to the Orphanage Housemother (KIKN’s representative in Nepal) that a neighbour had witnessed Sunita being beaten by her step-mother for not being quick enough to do the chores asked of her. The Housemother had a quiet word with the father, urging him to be caring towards his elder daughter. The beatings seem to have stopped.
Each year during her annual trip, our Chief Officer always makes a point to visit this family in their home. It appears that the girls’ stepmother has settled down, and relationships have become more amicable. Despite Sunita having to get up at 4am each day, her termly exam results are improving all the time. She is always smiling each morning when she attends her English language tuition classes. She is caring of her younger sister.
Children grow very little from one year to the next, due to poor nutrition from an inadequate diet. The sisters can wear clothes made for them two years’ previously, albeit that they are a little bit tighter than before. Sunita is 13 years old, but physically looks like a very slim younger child. Similarly Sarika, her 11 year old sister, looks like a 7 or 8 year old.
The lives of these children are no different to most of the children KIKN sponsor. We hope that these children can go on to achieve their full potential through our help and support in education, thereby securing a better future for themselves and their family.
The sisters were separated in June 2017 when Sunita, the eldest, was moved to stay at the orphanage, part working and goes to school. Sarika, the younger one, continues to live at home with her parents.
Sunita has improved in her studies since living in the orphanage, however, Sarika is struggling, missing her sister, and is having to take on all the chores in the home, not an easy option.