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

Newsletter August, 2006

Dear Friends,

The enthusiasm of the people after the fall of the despots king Gyanendra has turned into a general chaos. The "Nepali Congress", the country's largest conservative party, currently has the upper hand because its chairman, Girija Prasad Koirala, 85 years old, was elected Prime Minister by all parties, including the Maoist rebels. The very sick man unfortunately has to spend most of his time in hospital, which slows down the progress of political activity. The Parliament, which the King dissolved four years ago, meets again and serious negotiations are under way with the two heads of the rebels, Dr Baburam Battharai and Prachanda.

There is currently a prolonged ceasefire, but the rebels are vigorously refusing to disarm before the elections planned for April 2007, which are to give Nepal a new constitution. The first is against political cooperation with the Maoists, while the second is already engaged in intensive negotiations with them. The rebels demand that the armies of both sides be united into a single Nepalese army under the supervision of the UN.

Meanwhile, a vast number of beautiful young rebel women are practicing outside the gates of Kathmandu and presenting an impressive arsenal of weapons to the extremely interested press. Women play a major role in the Maoist movement and are known for their seriousness and perseverance. The situation is more than unsafe and even more dangerous than at the time of the dictatorship. Armed gangs of former Maoists or soldiers of the former government raid banks and expensive shops and are released three days after their arrest. Corruption has never blossomed before, and people who used to be considered good friends suddenly become suspicious because they try to cheat on you with a smile and an incredible "innocent" appearance. Each cheque is checked twice by the bank and the alleged customer is called to ensure that it has been issued.

We also had a nasty surprise: Our accountant, who has been such a serious accountant for the past five years, probably infected by the general atmosphere, had submitted a written protocol to our bank stating that a meeting of our Nepalese sister organisation "Nepal Association for Children's Care and Education" had taken place to decide that the project needed a credit card because we would have to supply a carcinogenic boy constantly with expensive medicines.

The necessary signatures of the 12 members and the president of the organization were falsified by the young man, but the bank, which fears for its good reputation, has appointed its writing specialists and informed us in time. For all of us this is an incredibly sad and shocking event! We had to "arrest" the boy ourselves and take him to the police. Only if we had tried him for many years would he have remained in prison, but since he hadn't had time to steal money, he would have been released as innocent according to Nepalese law! The 10 days in the dirty prison of Kathmandu he had to spend with serious criminals, murderers and rats. When we decided to withdraw our complaint because otherwise he would have become an even bigger criminal in the country's dungeons, he came out of captivity repentant and deterred by the brutal treatment of the police.

Life goes on in this confusing everyday life. For example, you now watch out for pedestrians not to be hit by bicycles and motorcycles. In this way, a French girlfriend's purse was torn away with money and papers. Telephone threats are part of everyday life and convey a very unpleasant feeling of insecurity and fear.

In our two residences, the main house and the apartment of the bigger ones, everything is still working. The impending tragedy of losing our Pramod hovers like a shadow over the project. Chemo- and radiotherapies didn't help, and now the doctors only care about the infections his weak body can't defend itself against. It is a back and forth between hospital for treatments and blood transfusions and "at home", where we make life as beautiful as possible for him. He's only got one or two months to live. We have welcomed his favourite nurse Svetscha, who cares for him and our muscular dystrophy patient Raj Kumar in a touching and loving way. Pramod's brother Prakash suffers greatly from this terrible situation, which unites us all as a family. The hardest thing for us is to laugh and have fun, because Pramod still believes in his healing and seems to have no idea of his imminent end.

"For the past 4 years, our boss Deepak has been so helpful and loyal to us that we have decided to send him to Thailand to study psychology. He is a sensitive, intelligent boy who has no future when studying in Nepal. The country's university degrees are not recognised abroad because the level of education is incredibly low, and we believe that Deepak deserves a better chance than most of our bigger ones. Continuing to keep him as a managerial employee would be considered a mil3 usufruct, because his task for the project takes way too much of his study time. A full year of study at the International Missionary University of Thailand (founded by Americans) costs "only" $4,900 US $ all inclusive, and their certificates are recognized all over the world. Compared to studies in England or the USA, this sum is acceptable, because at American universities you have to reckon with a minimum of 20,000 US $ (e. g. in Ohio) up to 45,000 US $ (in Harward) without costs and lodging for one year! We know that Deepak is serious, and since there are no psychologists in Nepal, he can be sure to make himself useful to the people of his country when he returns.

Our main work continues to focus on the slums, where our girls always work with a lot of dedication. Sija manages the project, but is now only dedicated to social work. Since half of the project's employees are slum workers, our position in the community has been consolidated. Now there is mutual kindness and trust. Implementing ever better hygiene remains the main concern and the main goal of the work. Again and again Sija has to repeat the same advice. Now the groundwater is contaminated by the rainy season, and many children are ill and have an infectious lichen (Impetigo). We asked a young doctor to come and examine not only the 200 children, but also their mothers. We now have our own pharmacy in the slum and everyone who has problems comes to Sija to be treated free of charge.

But we now know who the "less poor" families are and Sija sends their members to the next cheap --" hospital on the grounds that she doesn't know her case very well and that she should go to a real doctor. Sija and her team don't take any vacations because they are aware, especially the slum workers, that the children need their basic food every day and all the efforts that have been made for three years would be completely destroyed within a few days of holidays. We are of course paying them for this extra work, because life in the slum is extremely hard and especially unbearable in summer. All our admiration goes to these employees, who have already achieved incredible results with this long and difficult assignment.

It seems to us like a constant repetition to thank all of you who make this work possible, but we do it with all our heart, because without your financial support nothing would be possible.

On behalf of all the people you help to lead a better life, we wish you all the best and love!

Elisabeth Montet