ChoraChori rescues 33 Nepali kids in Bihar!
The picture above shows Narayan Bhatta thanking us for rescuing his son, Mahesh, along with 32 other Nepali kids from two children’s homes in India. These displaced and trafficked Nepali children had been stranded in homes at Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga in Bihar, north India. Narayan had previously tried to bring his boy home on a private visit, But the local authorities in Muzaffarpur had turned him away, stating that the documentation he’d brought was inadequate. This echoed the experience of another father who’d attempted to retrieve his son from the same home. So, just as in that case, ChoraChori intervened on behalf of Mahesh and all the trapped Nepali kids in Muzaffarpur.
Background to the ChoraChori rescue
Nepali children cross the open border with India voluntarily for a range of reasons. They might be seeking a better life, adventure, work or possibly escaping domestic abuse. Traffickers also take children either against their will or through trickery. Many such children are picked up by the police and placed in children’s homes. Up until ChoraChori’s recent intervention through our child rescue programme they languished, forgotten, in these facilities.
For several months we have been trying to overcome obstacles in rescuing children from this home at Muzaffarpur. We knew that the local child welfare authority was holding Mahesh and the other Nepali kids against their will. Also, we were aware that the children were in very bad shape, malnourished and covered in scabies. We had to bring them home.
When Shailaja CM, Operational Director of ChoraChori, visited the home last month she discovered that there was a second group of stranded Nepali children. The Social Welfare Department in the Bihar State capital of Patna told her that a further 14 children were in a facility at Darbhanga. Although taking on a second concurrent rescue would stretch us to the limits, we had no hesitation in deciding to go for a mass repatriation.
Nepal’s Central Child Welfare Board takes the lead
We have been really pleased with the enthusiastic leadership of Nepal’s Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB). CCWB is the national authority responsible for the welfare of Nepali kids. These include the lost children of Nepal who are stranded in India. So it was gratifying for us to see the commitment CCWB has shown in communicating with its counterparts in India. Indeed, two senior CCWB staff members, Mr Devi Prasad Dotel and Mrs Namuna Bhusal readily agreed to join the ChoraChori team to lead the negotiations. Without their presence our task would have been so very difficult. This time the Muzaffarpur Child Welfare Committee handed over all the children without demur.
At the time of writing, 33 Nepali kids are on our bus on their way back to Kathmandu. There they will enter our transit refuge where we can begin to assess their needs. Meantime we will start tracing their families. Our aim is to complete the children’s rehabilitation quickly and reunite families as soon as possible. We will also have to investigate how these children went to India in the first place. Early indications suggest that there has been some child trafficking involved. If so, we will seek out the traffickers and bring them to justice.
Future childcare needs
Our challenge is far from over. We need to find the funds to cover the long term care costs of some of these children. In our experience approximately 20% of returnees will not be able to go to families. This is either because families can’t be found or they would be at risk of renewed domestic abuse or trafficking. Please do help us through our child sponsorship programme. Alternatively please, please, make a one-off donation using the button below.
This rescue brings to 105 the number of Nepali kids we’ve rescued from India since August 2015. ChoraChori is making such an impact at several levels. For example, we combine tangible grassroots work such as child rescue with raising awareness about child rights issues. That’s why we are one of the best small children’s charities in Nepal!