Earthquakes, water shortages and now forest fires in Nepal

Forest fires at Godawari
Forest fires at Godawari

Forest fires at Godawari

Recently the prolonged dry spell and strong winds have resulted in major forest fires across Nepal. These have threatened rural communities and wildlife alike. See this report in the Kathmandu Post. Today these came very close to home as our refuge kids had to call off a football match mid-game as the flames in the forests of Godawari drew close. This is tragic as Godawari is so idyllic and a haven to a huge variety of wildlife.

Forest fires in Godawari

Forest fires in Godawari

 

Grand designs in Nepal

Architect's drawing of the future ChoraChori-Nepal's girls' refuge in Nepal

These are the drawings received this morning from volunteer architect Jonny Davies based upon a design by our colleagues at Good Earth Nepal in Kathmandu. We are hoping to start building this 40 bed facility for girl trafficking survivors from 1 June and will be fundraising in the meantime. We are well on the way to reaching our £75,000 fundraising requirement thanks to the remarkable efforts of our three cyclists who are two thirds of the way through their sponsored cycle ride from Shanghai to Kathmandu. Please support them through this link.

The future ChoraChori-Nepal girls' refuge

The future ChoraChori-Nepal girls’ refuge aerial view

Trafficking of Nepali boys into India

24863865-Tag-or-word-cloud-human-trafficking-awareness-day-related-in-shape-of-hand-or-palm-Stock-PhotoSince August we have been rescuing trafficked and displaced Nepali boys from India. This report in today’s Himalayan Times reminded us of the dangers and how important our work has been. We know Manahari well; it has been a trafficking hotspot for many years with a lot of girls being sent from there to become child circus performers (slaves) in India.

ChoraChori’s first success against an alleged Nepali trafficker

Alleged trafficker on left, Shailaja on right
Villagers gather to hear Shailaja interview the alleged trafficker

Villagers gather to hear Shailaja interview the alleged trafficker

Shailaja collects information from the alleged trafficker

Shailaja collects information from the alleged trafficker

Alleged child trafficker brought to meet ChoraChori team

Alleged child trafficker brought to meet ChoraChori team

Yesterday Shailaja, Founder and Co-Director of ChoraChori-Nepal, went with her co-worker, Rita Mokhtan, to research a village in Parsa District, south Nepal. It is home to a community of 44 Dalit (“Untouchable”) families and around 50 children under the age of six who all looked very malnourished. The villagers informed our team that brokers come to the village regularly and take children and adults off to India with the promise of work. They end up mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. They  might return because of the difficult work environment or remain there as they have no other alternative. But some go missing.

The purpose of Shailaja’s visit was to collect information following parents complaining formally about the disappearance of a number of children who were trafficked to a poultry farm in south India. After saying that she needed to identify the agent to establish the children’s whereabouts, Shailaja was surprised at how the villagers went off and returned a couple of hours later to bring him before her. The alleged agent is 45 year old Patall Mahatwo Dangar. Four months ago Indian relatives came to the village and offered money for him to go and work with children to the poultry farm. He found seven boys to go with him and they met with an Indian agent. After a month and a half at the farm Dangar asked for money but was told that it had already been given to the agent. An altercation followed and Dangar left the farm, while the children went missing.

Dangar has agreed to help trace the other agents but yesterday the team took him to the local police station. There, in collaboration with local NGO Sano Paila, the family of the missing children successfully filed a case against Dangar. Now, in collaboration with the police and NGO partners, ChoraChori needs to not only find the other agents but rescue these lost children from India.

Two sisters in Godawari

The family home

The family home

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At the hostel

When ChoraChori was set up at the start of 2015 it was originally envisaged as being a charity that would help individual children who were in desperate circumstances as identified by our colleagues in Nepal. The earthquakes of 2015 made us review that Vision as the need was clearly there to do much more to address the legacy of the earthquakes. The original intention remains valid though, and we were pleased to learn today that our friends at the On Devon Soroptimist Club in New Zealand have accepted our invitation to help two sisters who have been living on the edge in Godawari on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Their alcoholic father lives in the shack pictured along with his wife, the girls’ stepmother. The girls, aged 13 and 14, had been sleeping rough or at the homes of neighbours, banned even from the shack by their abusive stepmother.

Happily they have just been admitted to a girls’ hostel run by local Catholic sisters with the promise of education potentially up to Bachelor’s level subject to continued funding. The On Devon Soroptimists have agreed to fund at least the first year, but possibly longer subject to their own successful fundraising.

A nice result out of very unhappy circumstances, we wish the girls well and a huge thank you to our friends in New Zealand!

A developing chronic water shortage in Nepal

Rebuilding Shree Tulasadevi School, Kavre District.

This press report highlights how a water supply that used to be taken for granted in Nepal seems to be drying up. Opinions seem to vary as to the likely cause of the problem – everything from urbanisation to deforestation to the earthquake and, if all else fails, blame India. It’s bad enough for the communities that are affected but there is a knock-on effect on development work. This past month we’ve had to suspend school reconstruction in Kavre District (one of those mentioned in the article) because of lack of water with people’s needs for drinking water prioritised. We addressed the problem by delivering a tanker of water to the building site but that added further to our building costs. Hopefully our immediate difficulties are resolved now and we look forward to project completion by the end of April.

A Royal visit to the Delhi street children and runaways

During the royal visit to India the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took time out to meet street and runaway children
During the royal visit to India the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took time out to meet street and runaway children

During the royal visit to India the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took time out to meet street and runaway children

Very pleased to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting the Delhi street children and runaways today. See this link. They certainly came face to face with harrowing stories and the scale of the problem. Nepali children arrive at Delhi railway station for exactly the same reasons as their Indian counterparts. ChoraChori-Nepal also works through the Salaam Baalak Trust which now advises us of any Nepalese children that it finds, allowing us to facilitate prompt repatriation and reunifications. In case you missed it, here is the excellent report that appeared a couple of weeks ago in the Nepali Times on the good work we’ve been doing recently to help kids like these.

Reunification challenges

These two runaway Nepali boys have been reunited with parents by ChoraChori-Nepal

Numbers continue to drop at our Kathmandu shelter with two more boys reunited with family today. Reunification isn’t made any easier by the information offered by the returnees. These two boys, aged 12 and 13, had said they were brothers when they were actually cousins and one had changed his name to avoid being separated from his cousin while in India. In any case, they are now happily back with family, one with his mother and the other with his father. 

 

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