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

Newsletter September, 2021

Dear Friends,

Finally, the incompetent Prime Minister Oli was removed from office, and the leader of the Nepali Congress Party, SHER BAHADUR DEUBA, became the country's head of state again for the fifth time since 1995. With him, the Nepalese at least know who is ruling them. However, he has yet to prove whether he will succeed in improving the living conditions of his country's poor. The Nepalese people doubt this, because they think that all politicians are corrupt anyway. Regardless, Deuba not only has experience with domestic politics, but he also has the necessary connections abroad from his previous posts to extract as much as possible for Nepal financially.

After the U.S. left nearby Afghanistan, the Kathmandu airport has become of great importance to the Americans in the event of a conflict in the region. Nepal is sandwiched between the two major powers, China to the north and India to the south, and it will not be easy for the prime minister to establish a balanced relationship with his two neighbors. Indeed, it has always been the case that as soon as Nepal favors one of the two great powers, the other starts to make trouble. Immediately after the appointment of the new leader, both big neighbors ingratiated themselves with the small country and donated a shipment of their weak vaccines. The U.S. recently supplied 1.5 million Johnson & Johnson doses, but vaccination staff were pressured from above to vaccinate the wealthy and politicians first. Only 6% of the approximately 30 million Nepalese are currently vaccinated. Hundreds of people stand in line for days trying to get vaccinated in order to get hired in Qatar to build luxury hotels for the 2022 World Cup. When their turn comes in the evening, they are told that the vaccine has run out.

The growing poverty and ever-increasing prices are becoming more and more unbearable for the Nepalese. This particularly affects the hundreds of thousands of day laborers of Kathmandu who have been rendered unemployed by the lockdown, and among them the residents of the slums. For this reason, the government has decided not to demolish the settlement of Thapathali, as was planned two years ago. It is a relief for the 1400 inhabitants of this community to know that at least their dwelling, even if it is only made of plastic, can no longer be taken away from them. Feeding their family remains their biggest problem, and for this they receive no support from the state.

The lack of food even leads some single young mothers to sell their bodies in order to provide for their children... The Korean Christian sect, which lives in the middle of the slum, cooks for these people once a week, so that they do not return to their old religion. Our milk porridge enriched with minerals and vitamins, which has never been so important, the children get every day and stay healthy. About thirty sick people of Thapathali were diagnosed with the covid and had to go to the hospital. Three of them died. Chronically ill people with heart disease, cancer or diabetes remain without treatment due to lack of money. Although the lockdown has been relaxed somewhat, all schools in the country have remained closed for a year and a half. Expensive private schools offer online classes to the children of wealthy parents, but most of Nepal's children who attend government school do not have computers, and these children, whose educational level was already very low, now have no chance for the future to fill their learning gaps. We continue to supply the Thapathali slum with drinking water on a regular basis.

The previously smaller slum of Banshigat. where we have been working the longest, has become so overcrowded due to pandemia-induced unemployment that it now houses 2000 people. Here, houses and shacks are registered by the state, and the "homeowners" have divided their abodes into several tiny rooms to rent to the needy for expensive money. The poor do not mind at all to exploit the poorer: Up to 7 or 8 people live together in each room. Of course, there is no running water, cooking is done in the room, and the outhouse is shared with several other families. The settlement is currently affected not only by the covid, a kind of flu affects adults and children. No one knows for sure at first if it is the Delta virus, because the symptoms are similar, and the sick lack the money to afford the expensive PCR test. Again, our nutritious porridge is highly important because the unemployed parents cannot provide balanced meals for their children. Even though it is forbidden for sanitary reasons, the little children come to the kindergarten every day. They get their porridge and are taught for 4 hours by Neer, because after these 18 months without school their learning ability has drastically decreased and they have already forgotten what they have learned.

Our non-settled Maute people from southern Nepal are worse off than ever. They cannot bleach their dark skin, and they are considered thieves by most Nepalese. Since they were chased away from their camp last January, they had to rent cheap tin huts for a lot of money and of course they were not able to pay the rent at the end of the month. They had no choice but to rebuild their plastic tent camp on the banks of the foul-smelling Bagmati River, which carries all the capital's feces. The men try to hire themselves out as heavy laborers, but even there they are rejected. They have started going to villages outside Kathmandu to sell their homemade "remedies" to the farmers. They don't earn much from this because the farmers are also poor, but they are compensated in the form of vegetables, eggs, and sometimes chicks.

Meanwhile, the women go to different temples with their babies and beg. On the way, they stop in front of every house in the wealthy neighborhoods and ask for used clothes. The clothes we buy for the children are unusable after three months because they cannot stand the dirt and frequent hand washing. From the scraps, the women weave blankets and small colorful rugs, which they then try to sell. You might also notice how much cleaner our Maute people look in the new photos: The women told Muna that the Germans who keep them alive through donations should be proud of them, so they wanted to look good and clean in the pictures. They were poor, they said, but they would be very ashamed if their benefactors saw them in their dirty rags.

Again, despite lockdown, Muna and Sushma teach part-time under our tent school. The Maute children have become serious students. They really enjoy learning and can now even read simple children's books. Muna and Sushma especially enjoy teaching them because they hope that after the Covid crisis these disadvantaged children will reach the level of the other Nepalese students. It also gives courage to the mothers to endure these hard times: they hope that their children will have it better than them later. Because of the daily porridge and food that the Maute people get from us, the children are healthy and no one in the community has fallen ill with covid, but these people who used to be cheerful are now plagued with worries because they depend on us for their food. Just the basic foods needed by the clan [rice, soy, beans, lentils, etc...] cost us €1000 every month, not counting the expensive milk porridge and everything else we buy for the children.

The virus and its variant have severely affected our lives in developed countries, but poor countries like Nepal have already lost much more: due to unemployment, their citizens are slipping back more and more into suffering and poverty. Thank you to all of you who are supporting us. We'll be back in touch in December with donation receipts for 2021.

Warmest regards
Elisabeth Montet