Kinderhilfe Nepal e.V.Charity Organization for Nepalese Slum Children

Newsletter May, 2006

Dear Friends,

Last April, the despot of Nepal, King Gyanendra, sent his armed army and police against his people. After bloody street battles that left the dead and many injured, including hundreds of children, the dictator was forced to return power to the alliance of the country's various parties under pressure from the troubled masses. Parliament, which it had dissolved 4 years ago, has now come together again. The new government is no longer called "His Majesty's Government" but "Government of Nepal" and will in future decide on the monarch's budget, which will pay taxes like any other citizen. The peace negotiations with the Maoist rebels are now a priority. To this end, the fighters have agreed to a three-month ceasefire, demanding the help of the UN, but foreign powers such as India and the USA continue to pull their strings and, according to Nepalese intellectuals, they are promoting the fragmentation of the country's recently united political forces.

Only the capital Kathmandu was able to protect the army and police at the end of the revolt. The despot had enough provisions in its palace to endure a long storage. For the people, on the other hand, hard to survive: Among other things, there was no petrol, no gas, no salt, and finally everything began to be lacking. Since the King of Nepal has been regarded since ancient times as the reincarnation of the god Vishnu, (Vishnu - the creator in contrast to Shiva - the destroyer), this revolution is a decisive cut in the cultural and religious heritage of the country. The situation remains uncertain, but optimism prevails for the time being, even if a large part of the population is slowing down the reforms of the government. There are still daily street demonstrations where people continue to shout the slogan that has become famous in Nepal:"Gyanendra, Bandit, get out of our country! So chaos continues to exist, but at least there is no more blood, and the Nepalese people have gained self-confidence through these events.

Our work in Kathmandu continues. We had supplied the 50 people of Children's World with 3 months of supplies on time, because nobody knew how long the siege of the city would last. When we told the mothers in the slum that they should do the same for their families, we were immediately ashamed of our embarrassing proposal, because of course they replied:"We can't, we have, if at all, only enough money to eat today..."... We couldn't take over the food for 3000 people, so we organized three months' supplies for the children of the slum settlement. We have recruited more staff, including three who live in the slum. Purna, who finished his college, is happy about this opportunity to do something for his people and earn money at the same time. He is an extremely nice and sensitive young man who has often volunteered to support Sija, the director of the project. There aren't many young people in the slum whose parents have worked hard to send them to school, and we both want to do the same.

Include as much as possible in our work, so that there is a little self-esteem among the people of the settlement. The place is still very poor, but clean. Above the sewage pipes that we have laid, a playground has been created, which the slum people themselves have decorated with plants and bamboo. The women have it particularly difficult and we have equipped their "Defense Command", which continues to patrol regularly between 7 pm and 1 am, with raincoats for the rainy season. Since the women have been protecting their sisters in this way, the violence of men has fallen drastically. We would be willing to pay some young alcoholics for a withdrawal cure (15,000 rupees = about 170 euros) but none of them are willing to spend 3 months in a closed institution where the addicts are forced into sports activities and guarded by the police. There is no escape then...

Sija controls the project and now works more as a social worker because she is constantly confronted with the problems of the slum. She knows every shack, and all women trust her. Every day new difficulties arise that she has to deal with. Now we are working even more closely together between Kathmandu and Frankfurt, as the Internet telephone connects us free of charge, and we can talk for hours about which measures are to be taken in the slums or also about what is happening in Children's World, which Deepak is leading with success in the new earthquake-prone house. Sija lives with 12 other "big ones" in a flat-sharing community in the city, but all of them meet every Saturday at 11 a. m. for the general meeting, where problems are discussed and the much sought-after money is distributed sparingly.

We are very saddened by the condition of our leukaemia affected pramod, who has little chance of surviving his disease. The chemotherapy cycles weaken his immune system so much that he gets new dangerous infections every time and only skin and bones are left. Raj Kumar, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, is completely paralyzed and has recently suffered from pneumonia, one of which will surely lead to his death in the future. Both boys are close to our hearts.

Many, many thanks to all who donated for the cell separator. Of course, the EUR 8000 that we have received so far is still far from enough, but we will go another way and we will not give up, because this device is very important for Nepal. Pramod's doctor, Dr. Sudip, the country's only cancerologist, offers us to make a contract to determine where the device will be located, who will service and operate it. He even suggests that one or two of our older children be trained to keep control of the machine. In addition, the treaty would stipulate that only the rich will pay for the platelets, while the poor will be supplied free of charge. The Nepalese Red Cross actually runs Kathmandu's blood bank, and the large number of brand-new air-conditioned cars driving through the city with the famous red sign doesn't give us any reason to trust this organization: You could buy a cell separator for a single car of this kind, but as is often the case in third world countries, foreign money flows into the pockets of people who, if their child suffers from leukaemia, could easily send it to Europe or the USA. The poor, on the other hand, have no chance because there is no health insurance in Nepal. They'll die without any treatment anyway.

In Children's World, otherwise things are moving forward. It is learned and studied. Nelson, now 2 years old, is quite bright and goes to the Montessori kindergarten Kathmandu. Our employees are not getting younger and our cook Mai suffers from severe diabetes. This disease affects Nepalese people to a greater extent because they have been accustomed to eating mountains of rice without any side dish since early childhood, which was usually very poor. Even in the children's house, where a well-balanced diet is served, children and adults can't stop eating lots of rice? Otherwise they don't feel full, they say....

Thank you all for your faithful support! Anyone who has ever been to Nepal knows how much your help means.

We wish you health and all the best and love and will be back in August - September.

Yours sincerely

Elisabeth Montet