Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal

by Kidasha
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Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Protect and Inspire Street Children in Nepal
Arun at the street shelter
Arun at the street shelter

As the whole world begins to slowly recover from the devastating effects of COVID19, sadly the pandemic is going to be felt a lot longer in Nepal, where still only 20% of the adult population has been vaccinated. 

I would like to share with you one of our success stories, where we managed to reunite Arun with his family.  At three months old, Arun's mother abandoned him and his disabled father and left him in the care of his uncle in a small village.

At 10 years old, Arun's uncle left in search of work and a new life in the city, so he moved in with his father.  They struggled with their relationship and one day Arun took a bus and ended up in Pokhara, a city he did not recognize and was a long way from his village.

Alone in the big city and unable to remember where he had come from, Arun was forced to live and work on the street. Our outreach worker who was monitoring child labour, identified Arun as being vulnerable and was determined to try and find his family.

Arun moved into our Street Shelter, where he was with other boys, who had all found themselves living on the street due to a range of complex reasons. After months of counselling with our social workers, using mapping methods to mark out landmarks near to his home, they eventually worked out the name of Arun's village, and tracked down Arun's father who had filed a missing child report two years prior.

This whole process took a year before Arun was reunited with his father and uncle and once all the formalities were concluded, he was free to return home.  Our social workers will keep in touch with Arun over the next few years, to check on his wellbeing and his school attendance. 

After some determined lobbying by our team in Pokhara, who always work hard to make sure action is taken against employers of children under 14 years, Arun has been awarded Rs. 25,000 (£159) in compensation for the unpaid work he had completed whilst on his own in Pokhara.

To reach more children we urgently need more help - a donation of any amount will go far in funding the tireless efforts of our social workers in Nepal, who work day and night to identify and house vulnerable children.

Thank you for your support and with your help we can change the lives of the children we work with forever.

Best wishes

The Kidasha Team

 

 

Arun and his family
Arun and his family
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As the COVID-19 situation here continues to improve and we look forward to more freedom, the situation in Nepal is now critical.

Cases in Nepal have surged by 1,200% in recent weeks, with the number of daily infections increasing from 100 to over 9,070 in the last month. Perhaps more worryingly, the national testing positivity rate is being reported at a huge 47% and with ICUs full and oxygen supplies critically low in some regions, international observers say that Nepal is on the brink of a human catastrophe.

As a result, several regions across Nepal have imposed new lockdowns, including in Pokhara and Butwal where the majority of our work takes place. After been closed for six months last year, schools have been forced to close again and as the majority of our beneficiaries lack the means to access on-line learning opportunities, the impact on their educational attainment is dire. As too is the impact of restrictions on livelihood opportunities which having just started to recover are again being decimated, with ever more families struggling to survive and thousands of children being at even greater risk of neglect and harm.

Our team on the ground is using their extensive experience from last year's crisis to coordinate our response. We are providing emergency aid to children and their families, working to protect the most vulnerable children from harm and also will be re-starting our community learning classes.

Despite these challenges, we remain committed to do all we can to protect the most vulnerable children and keep them safe during this escalating crisis, However, how much we are able to do relies on the generosity of our supporters and therefore we would be really grateful for any more help you are able to give.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

The Kidasha Team

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We very much hope that you and your family are still managing to stay healthy during these challenging times.

We are pleased to report that COVID infection rates are steadily declining in Nepal and the virus appears to be currently under control.  Most of the restrictions have largely been eased and schools are at last re-opening after being shut for 10 months.  And thankfully we can now get our work back up to full speed (with caution), as we are very conscious there could be a second wave at any point.

However, with months of no income and only very limited government support, many families have built up large personal debt and, with earning opportunities extremely limited, many remain in dire straits.  Sadly, this situation is unlikely to improve for months, if not years, and that increases the risk of the poorest children being forced into work, child marriage or living alone on the streets, rather than returning to school. And as a result, we are expecting there to be an increased demand for our street shelter.

One of our challenges will be to ensure that the children, particularly those from the poorest families return to school.  After such a long break from the routine of going to school some children, particularly those from the most dysfunctional, troubled families, are likely to also need some targeted social support and counselling to help them return. 

Considering the incredible success Kidasha has achieved working with the Education Authority, schools and families to reduce the number of ‘out of school’ children in recent years, we are very keen to prevent a serious regression in the progress made to date, and as such we have a new 12 month intervention project to help some of the poorest children transition back into school.  As ever to be able to implement this, we need to secure funding so it would be wonderful if you could consider making a further donation.

With best wishes and please keep safe

 

The Kidasha Team

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Amidst global COVID-recovery efforts, Nepal faces an uphill battle. As one of the poorest countries in the world, the ongoing pandemic poses the threat of widespread economic collapse and irrevocable damage to the lives of thousands of vulnerable children and families. 

It is clear from our work in the region that the impact of COVID-19 on the poorest communities is likely to be long-lasting and far-reaching. Without tailored intervention, a number of serious risks await those Kidasha works tirelessly to support. 

The majority of schools are still closed, which means that thousands of the most vulnerable children are being forced to cope without the safety and routine that schools provide - placing them at higher risk of not wanting to return or struggling to re-adjust to school when they do eventually re-open. Even children who are eager to return to school may not be able to do so, due to their parents no longer been being unable to afford the cost of school fees, uniforms, books, etc. To help the most vulnerable children return to school and improve their future life chances, we are:

  • Facilitating community based classes in slum areas until schools re-open
  • Supplying necessary school materials including uniforms, books, and stationary
  • Lobbying schools to reduce or waive fees for the poorest children

To add to these challenges, it is feared that the impact of Nepal's nationwide lockdown on the economy will lead to many children and young people being lured into exploitative labour situations and/or dangerous work on the street, exposing them to a wide range of risk behaviours, and a hugely detrimental impact on their mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, it is forecast that over half of female students may not return to school when they eventually do open, due to pressure to work or being forced into early marriage to help relieve financial strain on their families.

To protect children from these risks, our staff are working around the clock to:

  • Identify at-risk children on the streets or living/working in local slums 
  • Training children living in slums to be ‘peer educators’ to raise awareness among their friends about protecting themselves from the emerging risks
  • Support the rehabilitation of street-connected children and victims of exploitation by providing counselling, guidance and a safe place to sleep 
  • Support children and families in obtaining justice and compensation for exploitation and child labour 

Pokhara, having for years relied heavily on tourism, has experienced an unprecedented blow to its economy, diminishing income streams for thousands of people and pushing even more families into poverty.

Likewise, with thousands of families relying on remittances from migrant workers abroad - which last year made up 30% of Nepal's GDP - families are struggling to survive with virtually no income or government support

To give families a chance of survival amidst these growing challenges, we are working to:

  • Provide immediate food and hygiene materials to the most vulnerable families
  • Help families access new livelihood opportunities
  • Support families to access government support and other local services

Sadly, there is no quick-fix solution to COVID-19 and the devastation it is causing in Nepal. It is imperative that we continue to work to develop long-term solutions to address the systemic, root causes of extreme poverty, now seriously exacerbated by the pandemic.

As always, we are enormously grateful for any help, no matter how large or small, you are able to give.

Thank you

The Kidasha Team

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As the whole world struggles with the pandemic, Nepal is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster and has been completely locked down since the March 25th.  Whilst the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nepal is still relatively low, the curve is now extremely steep, meaning there is little likelihood of lockdown restrictions being fully eased for some time. This means the pressure on the poorest children and families will continue unabated and based on past experience the number of children ending up on the street and outside of family care will increase. Hence the need for our services is more critical than ever.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic and a severe government-imposed lockdown, the situation for the poorest children and families has considerably worsened. For those living in slums, where extended families live together in small single rooms with no running water, social distancing and handwashing are almost impossible. Furthermore, severe hunger, overcrowded conditions and mounting anxiety within families is a toxic mix that sadly puts children at greater risk of neglect and harm. Also, the majority live hand to mouth surviving on day rate labour or on remittances sent by family members working abroad both of which have now dried up. Whilst the government is providing some support, it is not always reaching those most in need, leaving many at risk of starvation.

There is already mounting evidence of increases in forced child marriage, domestic violence, maternal mortality and suicide as the poorest families struggle to cope. Issues that in ‘normal’ times often cause families to breakdown, leaving children to fend for themselves in abusive labour situations or the street, and that creates even greater risk in the current context. The threat to children’s wellbeing when they are on the street and outside of family care is also exacerbated by the crisis, not only the obvious risk of infection but with tourism at a standstill and hotels, restaurants and bars closed, the usual earning/begging opportunities are scarce, with the resultant risk of severe hunger and other associated health problems.

Our dedicated staff and partners have spent the past couple of months rescuing the most at-risk children - those living on the streets, helping them return to their families or moving them to the safety of our rehabilitation shelter. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these children had never taken the opportunity of support to move on from the street and as such this is their first step to rehabilitation. This means that staff, already working 12-hour days in extremely constrained circumstances, have the additional stress of managing some extremely challenging behaviours, fuelled by sudden withdrawal from substance abuse.

We would be so grateful if you could make a further donation to help our very necessary work reach as many extremely vulnerable children as possible.

Many thanks for your support

 

The Kidasha Team

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Organization Information

Kidasha

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KidashaNepal
Project Leader:
Caroline Emlyn Jones
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London, Unknown United Kingdom
$9,309 raised of $9,000 goal
 
121 donations
$0 to go
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