The monsoon rain, which enables the rice, Asia's basic food, to grow came earlier and heavier than usual this year in Nepal. Thousands of houses and huts were washed away and reams of people are either missing or have been killed.
At last the four leading parties of the country have managed to organize a general election for the 19th November. However, the 33 parties of the opposition are against it and accuse the international community of wanting to interfere in the politics of the country because they help to support the elections through their respective embassies in Kathmandu. This election which has been hoped for for years does not appear very reliable to observers because more than half of the around 30 million inhabitants of Nepal are not registered and most of them in any case are disgusted by any sort of politician. According to the organization "Transparency International" corruption in all political parties of this country is also particularly alarming. Corruption also thrives in a hair-raising manner in the parliament, in the legal system and also in the army and police service. More than 100 lawyers are at present appearing before court because they have deceived and exploited their clients.
For the Nepalese it's simply all about the own family surviving. The parents of the middle class sacrifice everything in order to register their children in private schools, which are constantly springing up like mushrooms and whose fees are exorbitantly high. At the same time the level of education at these schools is extremely low because they employ completely unqualified teachers. The poor, if they can, send their children to the state schools whose fees are lower, however this means a large financial burden for these parents. During the monsoon period these schools are empty anyway because the children are needed by the family to plant the rice cuttings in the fields.
And then there are the other children who remain illiterate, who are sent either to work or to beg and are completely neglected. In the summer the brown water of the rivers in the valley of Kathmandu mixes through the heavy rainfall more than ever with excrement and rubbish.
In the crowded hospitals, this year reams of patients who are suffering from typhus will be turned away. Due to the high levels of humidity the number of mosquitoes and other insects has increased by double the usual amount. In the east of the country at least 6000 people have fallen ill with elephantiasis, whilst malaria and dengue fever contaminate other parts of the country. In the affected areas there is a lack of doctors, who refuse to leave Kathmandu due to the bad payment. They complain about the lack of facilities and medicine which the government do not make available and most of them are trying to emigrate.
Meanwhile our work continues without interruption. We have moved the health centre to the slum of Banshighat because it is needed more there than in the slum of Sinamangal. Many women and children are treated there by MUNA or are taken into hospital. We have organized a gynecological examination for the women, which has been well visited: several highly pregnant women came, who had never been to a doctor before. A 22-year old young woman, mother of three daughters was pregnant again in the hope of satisfying her husband and society by giving birth to a son. We asked another woman, who heard that she was expecting a baby for the first time, whether she was happy and she answered smiling and explicitly: "my husband will be very happy!" All women who had been examined suffered from a vaginal infection. Despite the unremitting advice from MUNA and SIJA, who campaign for better hygiene in the slums, all the women had to be treated with antibiotics or fungicides: a partly inefficient treatment, since the men would also have to be examined and treated respectively, but the women don't manage to interest them in it.
In the slum of Thapathali and three other slum areas the children are continued to be fed and looked after medicinally. We also have drinkable water delivered to the settlements. A sudden investigation by the government ascertained that 30% of the bottles of water, which are sold as "mineral water", contained coliform bacteria and the owners of the companies were called upon to clean their factories within 14 days, otherwise they would be closed down. The answer of the producers was not a long time coming: all companies in the country immediately started to strike for an indefinite length of time, and after three days not even a single bottle of drinking water could be bought on the market. As a result the government withdrew the order, the problem was swept under the carpet and the factories continued to produce contaminated water. This shows the power which the government in Nepal can exert on the people.
Sija is working together with us again and now has even the official leadership of our project. At the same time she is studying for her Master in Psychology and supports Muna in her work, who commits herself for the health of the children in the slums, and SUSHMA, who is responsible for the upbringing of the children. All three work seriously and efficiently. Even though they need energy and initiative from Germany they are those who master our work in often difficult to bear situations. All three are thankful to you, as are the workers from the slums, for being able to have this work, since unemployment is very high in Kathmandu, so that many young people from the former "Children's World" are now living as cheap labour in Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
Many Nepalese women also work as nursing staff in Israel and in Malaysia alone 600.000 Nepalese are supposed to be employed. All of them only accept this unworthy standard of living in order to send some money to their families in Nepal. We had imagined a better life for "our" children, but nevertheless Children's World has at least brought them so far that they could speak English and learn a profession. Many of them who have followed our work for the last 25 years will have certainly ascertained that our input over many years was always much bigger than the results. And nevertheless we want to claim with humbleness that half results are still better than none! And as a "joy" for special child lovers amongst our donators we may add that the 60 children, who were brought up by "Children's World" have already given us over 100 grandchildren for whom they after all take care of themselves!
Many thanks for your patient and really encouraging support.
With kind regards