Currently the Nepalese media is mainly concerned with the impending municipal elections, which have been put into question by the insurgent Madhesis in the South of the country. For a long time, they have been demanding, that their region is to become autonomous and that Nepal should be made a federal state. They are constantly complaining that their requests have been widely ignored. Most of the time, workers strikes and street blockages are to be expected, which continue to slow down the nation and make Kathmandu appear like a ghost town.
Waking up one morning, one finds an abnormal silence: no sounds of cars, only conversations and the sounds of cooking are heard in the neighbouring houses. Everyone knows right then, that another mandatory strike was called. If you ask, who was responsible for it, no one will be able to give you an answer. Slowly the radio and television will then clarify further details, and people will be prepared to stay home, as they will not be allowed to drive anywhere. That schools and factories are now shut down seems like a gift, and no one seems alarmed to be living in a nation where any group or organization can call out a state of emergency at any time, without the government being able to intervene.
Only very few Nepalese people actually know what is going on in the country: "Politicians are all corrupt anyway", is the way most people think. No one is interested in the political climate: Even our employees typically have no idea who the newest prime minister is. Unfortunately, it is not only the politicians who are corrupt, but also most of the Nepalese community. Those individuals who are successful in what they do, only hire members of his or her family or caste. This prevents individuals from the "lower" castes from getting a job, since it appears impossible for them to break the system of hierarchy. The frequent change of government adds an additional chaos, through which most people are at war, in order to defend their share of the power and money. The result is, that those who succeed in receiving a decent education, emigrate to the United States or Australia. The poorer ones have no choice, but to sell themselves to the Gulf States as cheap labor.
At the same time, the cost of living continues to rise, so that Kathmandu has become the third most expensive city in South East Asia, as it is more expensive than New Delhi or Karachi. The prices for simple staple foods are so high, that a healthy diet is not possible for most people. Sumitra, a young women from our former children's home, was found naked in the streets 20 years ago. She had been left by her parents, because she was a girl and it was not cost-efficient for them to feed her. Today, she works as a nurse. Last March she insisted to finally invite us to dinner in order to show her gratitude. Her husband is a truck driver and they have a five-year old girl, Dolma, who is enrolled in school. He earns 240 € a month to add to Sumitra's 75 €. And exactly 75€, an entire month worth of work, is what she had to pay in order to pay for us to have a normal meal of water buffalo, vegetables and rice. Who would be able to feel comfortable during such a dinner invitation?
The small family lives in a tiny room without access to running water. In this room, they cook on the floor, and the family of three shares the only toilet in the house with 25 other people. Most Nepalese people live like this in Kathmandu. It is not the case, that our other former children from "Children's World" who are better off today, would support their brothers and sisters in need.
Everyone lives and fends for themselves, not interested in how others are doing. This is typical for the merciless and egoistical cohabitation of the inhabitants of Kathmandu. Untouched by this, we continue the work of the Kinderhilfe Nepal relentlessly. In May, the new school year begins, and we will send new children from the three slums that we support, to begin school. In the meantime, our organization is covering the costs of education for 200 children. Muna and Sushma have repeatedly assured us, that the schooling has occurred on a regular basis. Nevertheless, the Maute children have a tendency of skipping school, because their parents are convinced that their traditional rituals and celebrations are more important than their lessons. The survivors of the big earthquake are still waiting for financial help and are still living under plastic sheets and corrugated iron.
The 20 families from Mudhku that, due to your support, were lucky enough to receive an earthquake proof home, live under better conditions today than they did before the earthquake. The chance to live in a proper home, has given them a better, more hygienic life. Muna's engagement and the improved living conditions has turned the children of Mudhku into healthier and more groomed children than they were before.
We gave them the necessary materials to give them a good start into the new school year. Furthermore, the Maute nomads that we support, stayed in Kathmandu this year. Hence, we gave them mosquito nets in order to keep them safe from dengue-fever and malaria during the rainy season. For financial reasons, we have only been able to give our vitamin and mineral rich milk pudding only to children under the age of 10 years old. The potable water that we bring to slums in trucks has become more and more expensive as it is brought in from the outskirts of Kathmandu. No one in the capital has running water in their home. The water is bought and filled into large cisterns that need to be refilled regularly. Only wealthy people can afford that habit. The sewage and with it the human excrements from the 1.5 million inhabitants of the metropolis, lands directly in the rivers of the Kathmandu valley where it contaminates the groundwater.
Under the prevailing circumstances, our project is doing the best of its abilities. With many thanks to you, the children are offered clean potable water and the necessary vitamins and minerals to develop both physically and spiritually. This is most certainly the most meaningful work of our support in Nepal, because only fully developed children will succeed in school.
Our full gratitude goes to all of you who have made that support possible.