We met Laxmi and the children for the first time in 2015, right after the earth quake. We travelled to meet them 5 times, supported Women and Children Service Center for a bit over 2 years and finally went back to meet up again.
It was really good to meet them all incl. the new children and we will for sure go back again to see how we can support.
Great also to see that many things we bought are still in use! 🙂
The orphanage mooved to a new location that provides them with more space and the opportunity to grew vegetbales. Birgit had to pick a cucumber that was delicious. 🙂
“I was very pleased when our meeting could take place again after all this time. Of course, we were connected via chat, video, and mail over the past years provided the Internet worked. It goes without saying that this cannot replace direct exchange. Especially not for me, as someone who tries to understand from the outside. And not only that, but I also want to be able to translate that for all the donors, for private individuals as well as for companies that trust us. That makes personal contact all the more important.
Our appointment took place at the Voice of Children office. Arranged by e-mail. On the agenda: collaboration, catch up, invoices, partnership, paper handouts, more fundraising appeals, and needs. For me, it was important to talk about our collaboration because after all, we haven’t seen each other since our contractual agreement, which was finalized by mail. I also wanted to learn how the projects are developing, what has changed in the country since and especially because of Corona, how we can support each other in the future, and what documentation we need to communicate transparently.
My trip included four meetings with VOC:
at their office,
at the Dropping and Socialization Center,
a meeting with two youth at the training center, and
a visit with a family in their home.
Four of us sat in the office. The president, treasurer, the program officer, and the marketing director. I was given some delicious tea and water to drink. After some time of getting reacquainted and friendly exchanges about Corona conditions in our countries and the extent of them, I learned the following.
Here is an excerpt: One of the biggest challenges right now is protection from internet abuse, which includes sexual abuse that happens online. The fact is that 70 % of young people have cell phones and 60 % use the Internet. Parents often have no control over it and often don’t know what’s happening, what the dangers of the Internet are, or simply can’t keep up with the speed of development.
Voice of Children is planning an Internet Safety Awareness Initiative to educate about the implications. These could be, for example sexual harassment, pornography, or bullying. The Internet is a “facilitator” to contact the abuser. An additional consequence can be child marriage. It should be noted that child marriage has historically been a problem. Cultural origin as well is characterized by poverty and lack of education. Through the Internet, unfortunately, acute again and become a trend. The children and young people are on average 14-15 years old. Child marriages are not legal and there is no official marriage. Unfortunately, it often ends in India (human trafficking). How do we have to imagine this? An exemplary process can be: One gets in touch, for example, through Facebook, is very friendly with each other, gets to know each other and the proposal of a meeting is made. You meet and decide to run away together and live together alone. It is important here to understand that love marriage are still not the norm. On the contrary, in more village areas they are not accepted. This means that the marriages are arranged and there is no common household for the newlywed couple because they live with the husband’s parents. This is what young people want to escape, but it is not the only reason they run away. Sometimes parents catch their children and try to separate them, which brings more conflict, which in turn leads to child fatigue and often ends in human trafficking.
Here’s what I learned about the cycle: by the “marriage” not being legal, the couple lives in illegality. This means there are no papers and therefore no official work. The children born are not officially registered and they have no birth certificate. Since the couple is on their own, problems often lead to separation and a new “marriage” follows. All this increases vulnerability, the cycle begins and gets worse. This is called Cycle Increase. You can now well imagine why more children end up on the street and how hard such a life must be.
Many parents are in favor of an early wedding because it frees them from financial obligations. There are also many parents who are afraid of a love wedding. The law states that adults can decide for themselves who wants to marry whom from the age of 20, but this is not culturally and socially accepted.
Even today, most children have to study what their parents want. In urban areas, there is less pressure.
What’s the plan? An Internet Safety Awareness Campaign. The objective is to educate parents that the Internet causes this progression, but also to explain its importance because the Internet is also essential for education and school, especially since COVID-19. We have to walk a tightrope through education and dialogue.
We agreed that VOC will let us know how we can support them. A future approach is to develop small programs with problem descriptions and focus. Currently defining specific educational activities such as:
Sexual abuse as well as factors that influence it.
Creating awareness for parents
Training for teachers to be able to classify and be more sensitive to certain behaviors
Training for judiciary and police, creating awareness among prosecutors.
We discussed as a direct task for us is to do a podcast on the topic to create awareness about the issue. My meeting lasted just under two hours and ended with lunch together in the in-house cafeteria. That was only one meeting of the day, two more followed. Taking in and processing so much input in such a short time, absorbing and integrating all the impressions and cultural differences is always a challenge. One that takes a lot of energy, but also gives a lot and is fun for me, because I get access to knowledge that would otherwise not be available to me. A particular highlight for me was when we talked about the topic of love marriage. For whatever reason, I thought it wasn’t real anymore. Seeing my puzzled face, it was explained to me how it was still handled today. When I asked the question to the round which of them was arranged, to my amazement, it was answered quite frankly with a big grin. I replied with a laugh, “well, and I’m divorced” 😉 We all smiled at each other. In conclusion, I can only say it was a great start to my Nepal trip.”
As soon as it was clear that nothing stood in the way of a trip to Nepal, Birgit was on the plane. As a first session a meeting with Voice of Children was arranged. The joy was great on both sides, as we can see.
“I am deeply impressed with Krishna Thapa the President of Voice of Children Nepal, what he has accomplished and all that he and his team are achieving for street children. That includes work in education, systemic change and strengthening families so that children can go back – if it makes sense. And who knows someone who is being honored by the President of the United States for their accomplishments?”
We discussed our cooperation and the direction for 2022+. New creative ideas were elaborated as well. Afterwards Birgit visited the Dropping Center, was guest of a family who talked about the reintegration of their son and she could talk to 2 boys who are doing vocational training as part of their integration. An incredible experience: transparent, open and inspiring. Thank you to all our supporters and we are happy to collaborate with VOC. There is a lot of work to be done. Every cent counts and makes a difference.
Madan (Rainbow Volunteer Club) said to Birgit: “Let’s go, I want to introduce you to a great children’s home and to an amazing woman. Exactly, it is also the home for which you had bought a stove before.” No sooner said than done, because who could say no to that. In no time Birgit was sitting in the back seat of the scooter and the journey began. As you may know, in Nepal only the drivers have to wear a helmet. Why? Unfortunately, we can’t answer that. What we do know is that the journey was exciting and the extra weight didn’t necessarily make it easier 🙂 Regardless, they had fun and the trip was worth it.
The children’s home has been in existence since 2008 and is run by Uma Devi Basset. There are currently 18 children under her care: 8 girls and 10 boys. Not all of the children are orphans. As with many, the parents are not able to take care of the children, make sure they have enough to eat or go to school.
Birgit: “First of all, I got a yoghurt-water drink and we got to know each other a bit. Afterwards, Barsha gave me a tour so that I could see everything and get a better impression of how they run things, how they are organised and what happens. I am always amazed at the openness that is shown to me. Really amazing and great. So I have seen all the rooms and my impression is good. There are separate rooms for girls and boys, the kitchen is big and very appetising, there is enough water for drinking, cooking and washing, a small garden and an open hall for sports activities like yoga, dancing and studying. I felt very comfortable and especially enjoyed the tour. “
The question of how they finance themselves is an important one, because unfortunately too many children homes have no real concept or plan of how they can stay afloat in the long run. Without much ado, it was explained as follows: there are 3 main sources of income:
Festivities: many people come to them to celebrate festivities such as birthdays. This is often linked to donations for the home.
Dashain Festival and Deepavali: on these 2 important festivities, donations are collected for the home, and substantially.
Volunteers and donors: people are there to support, as part of the “family” or support as we have done with our association.
In our conversation it quickly became clear how we could support and we did so with great joy: we transferred school fees directly to the school for the children. A big thank you to our supporters!!! We will spend more time together on our next trip. And also a big thank you to Madan for the connection.
Note: the baby is not part of the children’s home, but her grandson. Mother and child like to visit regularly to support.
We hope you are all well! There’s exciting news we love to share with you, because as of yesterday we have our own podcast. This means that we can now be heard on Anchor and Spotify. So you don’t need a Spotify subscription.
We deliberately decided to do the podcast in English so that our Nepal friends and people from other parts of the world can listen to it as well. Birgit is currently in Kathmandu and will have a lot to report from there. Enjoy and let us know what you think about it.
Today we celebrate Father’s Day in Germany. Father’s Day is also known regionally as Herrentag or Men’s Day. It is a custom celebrated in different parts of the world in honor of fathers and fatherhood. Depending on the country and region, it is celebrated on different days.
In Nepal, this day is celebrated on September 7, 2021 and is called Kushe Aunsi is also known as Gokarna Aunsi. This is great, because then we can celebrate the day 2 times 😏😁
Let’s think together about all the fathers who are having an especially hard time providing for and supporting their families right now. Help us make a difference.
First of all, we wish you all a wonderful and happy Happiness Day 2021 and that it continues for you until at least 31.12.2021. Especially in this really challenging and strange time that demands so much from us in every way YOU only deserve the best.
But what does happiness actually mean? Certainly something different for each of us, that much is certain.
Meaning of the word
The word “luck”, from Middle High German glücke/gelücke (from the second half of the 12th century) or Middle Low German gelücke/lücke, originally meant something like “the way something ends/good turns out”. Luck was therefore the favourable outcome of an event. To be distinguished from this is Glückseligkeit, which is usually explained and understood in connection with a state of (religious) salvation or a high degree of self-satisfaction.
In other languages, there is a clear distinction between the meanings of the words “to be lucky” and “to be happy”. In English there are the phrases to be lucky (“to have luck”; derived from luck) and to be happy (“to be happy”, from happiness).
Sanskrit has over ten words to describe feelings of happiness, such as sukha for happiness that gives a pleasant sensation, krtarthata for satisfaction after a deed, ananda for joyful bliss, sampad for the pleasant feeling in the body after yoga exercises, for example.
And what it means for us
It makes us happy when we can give children and families some happiness, hope and a future. When we can bring about change through you, positive change. It also makes us happy when we gain your trust and motivate you to join us, when we feel your response and realize that you are interested in our news, follow us on social media, and support our chosen programs through your donations. Thank you for this and please let us know if you have any suggestions or proposals: we look forward to a dialogue with you.
In recent years, Nepal has become a pioneer in conservation. According to WWF, Nepal has been able to almost double tiger numbers and successfully combat poaching. Especially due to the development and expansion of tourism, nature and thus the habitat of many species has gained great importance among the local population.
We cannot even imagine what will happen now due to the loss of tourism as a source of income due to Corona. Poverty is increasingly spreading and the support for the protection of nature is crumbling.
Previously, many people had emigrated to the big cities of India or the Gulf States to work in factories, hotels or on cruise ships. With Covid-19, they are no longer needed and have been sent home – back to their homeland, for example, to the extreme south of Nepal. Here – in the dense forests of the Terai Arc landscape at the foot of the Himalayas – tigers, elephants and rhinos still live. And now more people live here than before. At the same time, the families of the returnees have also been struggling to survive since the beginning of the pandemic.
WWF: “Until 20 years ago, Nepal was considered a hub of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. But determined conservation measures, which comprehensively involve the local population, have had an impact. Nepal was able to almost double its tiger numbers and successfully combat poaching. The transboundary Terai Arc landscape – at the same time one of the most biodiverse and most fragmented and threatened ecosystems in Asia – was able to recover.
Now, new cases of rhino poaching are threatening the conservation successes of the entire region. In addition, the search for food and firewood is driving people deeper and deeper into the forests. Six people have lost their lives in tiger attacks in recent months alone. They had surprised the animals in each case at their prey. The danger that the tigers will subsequently be killed out of grief, revenge or anger is great.”
Corona in Nepal threatens people – living in urban or rural areas – as well as nature.
(picture credit: Birgit Baier, most pictures are taken on the way to Annapurna Base Camp
Women’s Day in Nepal is written as ‘Nari ko Diwas’, which is known as Nari Diwas in the Nepali language. The ‘of’ means ‘ko’, which is not necessary to pronounce when writing a phrase as a noun. Nari means ‘women’ and Diwas means ‘day’ in the Nepali language, while the counterpart ‘Nar’ means ‘male’.
International Women’s Day in Nepal is held every year on 8 March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a day used to highlight persistent gender inequality and call for further change.
The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is – “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”.
“The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry.
Women leaders and women’s organizations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Today there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all.
Majority of the countriesthat have been more successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, are headed by women. For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19, as well as the compassionate communication of fact-based public health information.
Yet, women are Heads of State and Government in only 20 countries worldwide.
In addition to persistent pre-existing social and systemic barriers to women’s participation and leadership, new barriers have emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the world women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty. Despite women making up a majority of front-line workers, there is disproportionate and inadequate representation of women in national and global COVID-19 policy spaces.
To uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women’s leadership in pandemic preparedness and response, the perspectives of women and girls in all of their diversity must be integrated in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in all spheres and at all stages of pandemic response and recovery.
Additional information related to the United Nations Observance of IWD 2021 will be made available on UN Women’s website closer to the date. The hashtags for social media will be #IWD2021 and #InternationalWomensDay.”
 As of 8 November 2020. These data are compiled by UN Women based on information from UN Permanent Missions; only elected Heads of State are taken into consideration
A few days ago we received an email from the Embassy in Kathmandu with a link to a discussion between Roland Schäfer (German Ambassador) and Ms Mandira Sharma (lawyer) on transitional justice and human rights in Nepal, which we would like to share with you.
What is it about?
„Lawyer and Human Rights Defender Mandira Sharma co-founded Advocacy Forum in 2001, a non-governmental organization that works to promote the rule of law and to uphold international human rights standards in Nepal. Mandira was born in a remote area in western Nepal and was the first woman in her village to become a lawyer. She has a PhD degree. She did her Master of Law at the University of Essex in United Kingdom. She has worked for grassroots organizations advocating on behalf of prisoners, defending the rights of people in detention, and fighting against torture and ill-treatment and for proper legal representation of all prisoners, both political and non-political. In 2006 Mandira Sharma won the Human Rights Watch prestigious Human Rights Defender Award. ” (copy from YouTube movie description).
Every day the food is freshly prepared by three people. The team goes to the hospital twice a month to be checked for the Corona Virus. “If we feel we are at risk, we check more often.” explains Madan Poudeyal in charge of Rainbow Volunteer Club and therefore the program.
With your support, we have provided children in three slums of Bhaktapur with a hot meal, water, masks and a delicious dessert. Sometimes there is a sweet treat or fruit. 🙂
Also families in need were supported with food, water and masks. A mother who gave birth to a baby two days ago was supported. She is 25 years old and gave birth to her third child in the slum shelter. “When we visited her, we found that she does not have enough warm clothes, blankets and food for the baby. We supported her with blankets, mats, food and clothes. In addition, we were also able to support a pregnant woman.”
In the slum of Lokanthali, a temporary learning center was set up and a staff member was hired to take care of the sanitation, hygiene and education of the children. However, this program is not supported by us, except for the notebooks that were printed with our help.
On 12/14/2020 our 14 day support will expire. We hope to collect enough funds to support another two weeks because it’s more than a hot meal for children and families. It is reaching out, building trust and giving hope.