KATHMANDU, Nov 1: Fourteen year old, Heera Basnet laments that she never got to eat a full meal in a decade that she has lived in the child protection home. She states that with the meals provided not being tasty and nutritious; she has gone to bed on an empty stomach many times.
“The usual meal of rice and boiled potatoes with spinach doesn’t appeal to me and so I don’t feel like eating,” says Heera who has been living in a child protection home in Sifal. She adds, “We don’t get nutritious food like fish, meat and egg even for one meal in a year.” Though the home provides milk, it is often mixed with water and it becomes tasteless, shares Heera.
Geeta Pulami, 12, also lives in a child protection home. The girl from Bardiya, who has been living there since the last two years, also states that the meals aren’t nutritious at all. “There is no one at home,” she says, “And it’s getting difficult to live here too. I don’t know what to do.”
Nepal Children’s Organization established a child protection home in Sifal seven years ago with the intention of providing a homely atmosphere, education and healthy life to the children of parents who have been jailed for various crimes.
Children play at the Nepal Children’s Organization premises in Sifal, Kathmandu. The home states that because of the financial problems 68 children are suffering. Photo: Keshab Thokar
Since the government stopped international child adoption four years ago, the financial problems have piled up, informs the protection home’s acting head, Rajyalakshmi Joshi. “Though the home has taken the responsibility of educating the children till they pass their class 10, it has become very difficult,” she says, “For the past couple of years, it’s been difficult to feed the children properly.” According to her, the nine employees of the home haven’t been paid for 15 months.
The home states that because of the financial problems, like Heera and Geeta, 68 children are suffering. Children from age three till 18 are living in the home. With little help from the government and no donation, the problem of providing education and a healthy life to the children has increased, says Nepal Children’s Organization’s President, Rita Singh Vaidya.
“The government is only supplying the home with Rs 10 and 200 grams of rice per child in a day,” she says, “Though protecting the children falls under its duty, the government has not been taking care of it.”
According to her, because of the financial difficulties, the protection home is in itself in a dire need of protection. “With their parents in prison and lack of education, nutritious food and good health, the children’s future seems bleak. Though the home is doing whatever it can to provide for the children, this cannot remain the same in the long run,” says Vaidya.