When the Maoists were still in power they managed to look into corrupt
politicians from the other parties carefully and many of them were sent
to prison because of fraud. However, the last elections were won by
the conservative Congress Party and its officials are of course now
particularly looking forward to closely looking into the assets of the
Maoists! The new rulers are finishing the building work, which was started
by their predecessors in the capital: Katmandu's streets are on the
one hand being drastically widened, however wider streets in this case
only means more cars, more air pollution and hours of waiting in traffic
jams which makes daily life more difficult.
Over one million Nepalese work under unworthy conditions in the Emirates
or in Malaysia and send the money they have saved home. This is how
a sort of middle class is developing which is slowly beginning to be
able to afford some things whilst the poor are even poorer than ever
before. The prices have risen so much, that our project needs even more
money in order to take care of the needy. 30% of the children already
suffer from birth of underweight and whilst most Nepalese spend 80%
of their income on food, one third of them lack the necessary daily
calories. The main meal of these people consists of rice with a watery
lentil soup in the morning and evening. Although the UN-Nutrition Program
imports tons of rice in Nepal it thereby demoralizes the development
of the local farming.
About 38,600 NGOs work in the small Himalayan country and bring millions
of dollars into the country the press in Katmandu reports. If one takes
into account that Nepal has a population of 26,5 million, then it means
the journalists reckon that there is one NGO for 530 Nepalese! Where
is all that money?! "Kinderhilfe Nepal", however small our
association may be, looks after 300 children and their families and
all the money donated is used for the help in the slums. This work is
slowly making steady progress. The Maute nomads have gone to India for
three months and are expected back in Katmandu before the monsoon period
in May. In the slums in which we are working, the children remain healthy
due to our nutrient-rich milk pudding.
Muna still takes care of medical help and tries to educate adults and
children about better hygiene. The shortage of water is alarming during
this season and women often have to stand in a queue for hours in order
to get a canister full of water. Mostly there is only electricity during
the night when nobody needs it. Large firms do have generators but the
many small craftsmen are hindered at working and their income isn't
enough in order to feed the family properly. We regularly deliver drinking
water via lorries to both slum areas and pay for the medical treatment
of the children.
Due to the drastic increase in costs for health we can no longer cover
the costs of the operations for mothers and have to set the priority
of our work on the children. It is difficult and very depressing to
have to abandon people to their hopeless fate. In Katmandu an immense
number of small dirty clinics are thriving which show no sympathy with
the poorest and for unbelievable sums of money and much unkindness offer
treatment and surgical operations. In the rest of the country, in particularly
in the Himalayan mountains, there is no medical care whatsoever. Many
people die because doctors and nurses refuse to work in remote villages.
Often the sick people have to be carried for days until their relatives
find a road on which they can reach the capital city by bus. Often they
arrive too late. Such families, who have sold their huts and fields
in the village, in the hope of their loved ones recovering, end up in
the slums of Katmandu.
In the slum of Banshigat the success of our work can be seen the best.
Sushma alphabetizes the nomad children, whose parents have decided to
settle down so that their children can visit our school. Only after
that they have the ability to go to the state school. Sushma organizes
regular parents meetings in order to ask the parents for their cooperation
and to convince them how important it is for their children to be educated.
"Kinderhilfe Nepal" pays at present the school fees for 90
children from the slums. Some parents manage to raise the money for
the education, others don't because they only live from recycling the
waste products of the capital city. By doing that they are achieving
a very valuable job for the society, however they are only despised
because of it and they earn almost nothing.
With every visit in Katmandu we improve our project work as well as
we can. Also our "girls" Muna, Sushma and Sija, who take care
of the children from the slums all year round, have to be motivated
every time and are only then in a position to carry out their work with
great enthusiasm until our next visit. Last March we were pleased to
welcome a group of donators and we hope to be able to greet even more
of you all soon in Katmandu.
All the best until our next letter in August-September.
With very kind wishes