Kinderhilfe Nepal e.V.
- April / May 2009 -

Dear Friends,

This March the whole of Kathmandu valley which is surrounded by the mountains of the Himalayas, was engulfed in a black cloud of red dust, which made the safe landing of aircraft significantly more difficult. Sand from the deserts of Rajasthan and Baluchistan as well as smoke particles from the numerous forest fires in northern Nepal hung over the capital, irritating the eyes and lungs. The government has no means of fighting the fires, which devastate the already heavily depleted valuable forests every year during the dry season. The Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda is not in a position to bring about an improvement in the conditions of his country as he doesn't have a sufficient majority in parliament, which is why his reforms are not progressing. His comrade-in-arms and ideologist of the Maoist movement the Finance Ministers Dr. Baburam Bhattarai is the only person really doing something and initiaiting for the first time a tax reform in the country which is very unpopular with the wealthy.

The money from the revenue should be used to help the underprivileged and rebuild the infrastructure of the country after the devastation of the 12-year-old civil war. The amounts, however, are inadequate, and Nepal is dependent on the favor of the "developed" countries. The Prime Minister regularly visits them to beg to raise money . Not only has the sqaulor prevented any substantive progress, but also the mental poverty of the Nepalese people who have gone to live in the big city, and have lost their old traditional values founded on their village culture. The corrupt behavior, which runs through all stratas of society is to be found in most people whose amorality knows no boundaries. It's all just about survival, with every means and with every man for himself. One doesn't hesitates, to forge certificates and passports and to defraud and exploit others with the single goal in mind to emigrate which is the dream of everyone, believing it is all quite easy to get rich quickly

Ethnic riots convulse the country, blocking the way to Kathmandu and preventing the supply of main products to the capital. There is usually no gasoline, too little water, and electricity is only available after midnight, when people sleep. The factories are so quiet, and the already sparse industry is paralyzed. Although the Maoists aimed at halting caste discrimination, age-old traditions remain alive: girls from 20 to 30 years old are held captives by their parents because they want to go out with young men of other castes. Not infrequently, the father gives the photo of the boy to a criminal gang with a mandate to pursue him and to break his arms and legs. The thirteen year old Kumari from our Slumschule was for this reason from one day to the other married, without the knowledge our project manager Sija. Kumaris sister had recently eloped with a man of a "lower caste", and to prevent this happening again she was married with the first best man from her own caste. Human rights are constantly being violated by all groups in all directions, andthe country is continuely being condemned by the Commission for Human Rights from the United Nations.

The welfare of the 4000 inhabitants of the Pathivaraslums is thanks to our commitment good. The semi-annual screening of children was held in early April again, and we were able to determine that the health of the children has greatly benefited from taking the daily vitamin-and mineral-rich diet which they have been given by us.Through educational programs about nutrition and hygiene, this time in collaboration with nurses of a nearby hospital, Sija has tried to motivate the mothers to care better for their familes and to help her students to become more aware and confident. Even the children are now becoming more engaged and are cleaning the slum area regularly using rubber gloves to collect waste, which is then sorted. Nevertheless, in the immediate environment of the slums is a waste dump, and it is difficult to prevent the children, who live on the outskirts of the village from playing there. There flows the river, from where the sewage and feces from the canalization which we laid 3 years ago from the whole neighborhood flows. All the rivers serve the city as waste dumps and transport evil smelling and hazardous wastes. New slums are constantly growing on their banks, and the Government tolerates and ignores these repulsive places. Sixty-nine Slums can now be found in Kathmandu. From the 29 million inhabitants of Nepal about two and a half million live in slums.

Under these circumstances, our work is really just a drop in this "ocean of misery. " We are well aware of this, but why should we give up? After all over 200 children and their families have been given a chance of a better life through your help. In the future if it is possible we will expand our campaign to to other slums. Due to the capricious weather on our planet the rice harvests have suffered because of a lack of water, and famine is increasing in Nepal. Therefore we are already thinking of extending our resources to contribute food to alleviate the plight in other slums and we hope that all of you who have helped the children of Nepal so faithfully will agree to support this with additional assistance.

We thank you wholeheartedly for your support and wish you all the best until August-September.

Very warm greetings,

Elisabeth Montet