The Children of Kathmandu

Uma and I met 2 of the children Luni ( Uma’s daughter) sponsor. A very sad tale, it would appear that it is very common amongst the families from the lower socio-economic class.

This little girl is 10 years old. Her brother is 5. They have been staying in a tent since the earthquake. Their mother was the second wife to her first husband who died a few years ago. She has since remarried and the children’s stepfather is currently in prison. She has decided that she will travel to the Middle East to seek work. She is going to leave the children in an orphanage. This little 10 year old told Uma that she wants to continue to stay in the tent and keep her brother with her, rather than going into a home.

Our hearts break for her. This amazing grown up 10 year old girl who has nothing in the world, naively believed that she can continue to stay in the tent alone with her younger brother. She was wiping her eyes as she was telling Uma about this. Uma asked her to tell her mother to come and see her. Uma might be able to find employment for her mum to enable them to stay together as a family.

While we were at Jana Sudhar School we went into the tiffin room. There was a 7 year old girl who was helping the cook to serve lunch to all the children present. A very sensible girl who is keen to help and please everyone. She only sat down to have her tiffin after everyone was served. Her teacher told us that she lives with her aunt and uncle. Her parents live up in one of the rural villages. They live off the land. She is in Kathmandu for the opportunity to receive an education. Her aunt is considering sending her back to her parents because they can longer support her. Uma wants to know if it is only the education cost or the whole upkeep as well that is the reason behind their decision. She may be able to get one of her children to sponsor her. We wait to see if that is a possibility.

Apsarah is one of the KIKN sponsored 6th formers. She is 18 years of age. She came to collect her sponsor’s letter having just finished her final exam. She is now waiting for her results to come through. All being well, she should start her Diploma in Education (to be trained as a teacher ) in October. I was watching her talking to Uma, I have never seen such sad eyes in someone so young.

She lives with her older brother who suffers from kidney failure. He receives renal dialysis twice a week from a hospital in Kathmandu. From a Nepalese perspective, this signals the end . Her brother has not long to live. His condion is possibly at the terminal stage. Apsarah works as a shop assistant after she finishes her class each day to help to pay the rent and food for both of them. Her parents live off the land somewhere up in the mountains. They help when they can. With the festival coming, I guess there isn’t much in the home to celebrate…..I gave her the money to buy clothes/outfits she likes to wear in college and to bring me the receipts afterwards. In addition I gave her £40 (equivalent) from KIKN towards the housekeeping expenses for the festivals in a week’s time.

Each year when I am here, I do find it increasingly hard to cope emotionally when confronted with children who are suffering and at such a disadvantage. I know I cannot save the world, not even Nepal, but it is still hard to accept that the divide is so wide! Their faces haunt me when I am in UK, knowing how comfortable we are living in the land of plenty …..and the children in Nepal are trying to survive on a day to day basis…….