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

Newsletter June, 2021

Dear friends,

The catastrophic situation in India is currently causing the many Nepalese working there to flee home. The 1800 km border between the two countries cannot be monitored by the Nepalese authorities, and at the Birgunj border post alone, twenty thousand Nepalese cross the border on foot every day without being stopped and tested. Of course, these people have already infected Kathmandu and carried the virus to distant villages in the Himalayas. Many residents of the capital are also making their way to their native village for fear of starving to death during the lockdown in Kathmandu.

The old sick, incompetent Prime Minister Oli holds on to power despite protests from all parties and recommends his people to drink guava leaf tea during this second wave of the virus to protect themselves from the covid. If he had not preferred to form an exclusive friendship with India, Nepal would be getting help from China, but India is the wrong friend at the moment because it is too badly hit by the disease itself to stand by others.

China is taking advantage of the situation right now to spread its influence in the area: It acts as a good Samaritan and promises to provide help. That help, however, has been a long time coming. The Nepalese government could buy vaccines from its powerful neighbor, but the prices are far too high for the poor country. Two months ago, India donated a few thousand vaccine doses to Nepal: However, only politicians and members of parliament and their families were vaccinated with these... Many international organizations are leaving the country and have no plans to return, because the future is uncertain back home as well.

Containing the pandemic in India or Nepal is impossible. There, people too often gather en masse at religious festivals and are not deterred from celebrating. Masks cannot be paid for by most of them anyway. Only when things get dicey, when there is no more oxygen and the sick are lying in front of the overcrowded hospitals, a strict lockdown is called, as is the case at present: no one is allowed on the streets, cars, buses and cabs no longer drive. Even the airport is closed. Only grocery stores are open at certain hours. Of course, schools are closed, and garbage is no longer picked up and simply rots on the streets of the capital. Kathmandu's 1500 or so monkeys, which used to be fed by tourists, now sneak into houses in hopes of finding something edible. They suffer from many diseases and spread gastrointestinal bacteria and herpes among the population.

In all the slums of the capital, many people lie sick in their huts and only learn that they are sick with covid when they begin to be unable to breathe properly.

In the slum of Banshiqat, most of the women who worked as domestic help or on construction sites have lost their jobs because the wealthy employers are afraid of the virus. Therefore, they have no money to feed their families. The mothers are worried about the future of their children and every day they bring their little ones to our kindergarten where they get their rich milk porridge. The water shortage that is currently plaguing Kathmandu is particularly acute in Banshigat. Here, too, we have drinking water brought by trucks. The wait for the monsoon this year is particularly oppressive and difficult, because even for the daily washing of clothes and cooking utensils the precious liquid is missing. The distribution of drinking water is not easy because the police immediately show up in the slum when people line up in front of the water tanker to punish them for breaking the ban on gathering. Police also patrol the overcrowded slum of Thapathali constantly.

We have had to drastically increase the amount of our nutritious miich rice because more and more children are being born and because we provide it to the many pregnant women so that they do not give birth to malnourished babies. In Thapathali, most people work as day laborers, and since they have all become unemployed because of the Covid crisis, they have no money to buy medicines for long-term treatments for heart patients or diabetics.

Our "Maute" people, who come from the border area with India, are having the hardest time at the moment. The government's months-long threat to evict them has become a reality: One morning recently, a bulldozer came to flatten the camp. The compassionate driver gave the clan 6 hours to pack up their belongings. Nearby, a pair of tin huts were for rent at €20 per month each. Paying such a sum is impossible for the Maute people, but they promised to pay the rent at the end of the month.... Other dark-skinned people from the south live there: there is no water and only one toilet for 200 people. To use it, each family has to pay €5 a day, exactly the amount the men earn a day by selling their herbal "medicines". Many save the money by relieving themselves outdoors at night....

With Muna and Sushma, they are now struggling to find a place to settle, but the lock-down, which the government keeps extending, makes the search impossible. These people are currently downright hated and discriminated against because of their dark skin, and in order for them all to leave the city, the government has recently banned tent camping. Of course, we can help for a while: How could we possibly feed the children and watch their parents starve? On top of all these worries, there was a big problem three weeks ago: Dadhi, 90 years old, fell and broke her pelvis and femoral neck: what could we do but call an ambulance and take the suffering woman to the hospital? We had to pay 1000 € to get her back on her feet.

Without Kinderhilfe Nepal, she would have soon faced a long horrible death with her open fractures. Dadhi has an amazing clear head and never stops expressing her gratitude.

Our Maute friends are the most lovable people of all the slum people, but their situation is very precarious: they don't know where to go, and we too are looked down upon by the people living in the area for standing by them. If we could find a piece of land whose rent they could pay, we could help them build tin huts. They do not own anything. They don't want much, just a place to live and earn enough every day by working or begging to feed their children and send them to school.

In this pandemic time, everything has become difficult: We cannot plan anything, we are forced to adapt to each day as it comes, not knowing what tomorrow will consist of.

The contact with Muna and Sushma happens daily through the Internet. They are both capable, lovable and very trustworthy, but logical thinking is often foreign to you. They know it, and that is why they contact each other every day: the problems are discussed and then solved. Both are former children from "Children's World" and today they are 30, but they remain Children's World Nepal's daughters, without whom our project could not exist.

Best regards

Elisabeth Montet