Christmas for our children of Children’s World is a festival about which they used to put more and more questions. The glittering world, which at that time is broadcast by CNN and BBC on TV all over the Kathmandu valley is just enchanting and fascinating to them. This year the children’s Christmas letter is written in German. Pema is proud of showing off in this way that he made big progress in the German language. He daily goes to the former Goethe-Institute, which has been renamed into „German Language Institute“ and which is run by Nepali people. Many students do not want to continue their studies after graduation from this institute. Some girls who were rather weak in school returned to the „large family“ of their village, where they found employment as primary teachers. For the boys it is a big fashion to go the Arabic Emirates or to Saudi Arabia, where they work for a meagre salary like serfs. In order to be able to go there they require money for the air ticket. That’s why they constantly press us for it, but we refuse. This matter was also raised during our last general assembly. All members agreed that our organisation was founded with the aim of teaching Nepali children how to read and write and to train them for a job, but not in order to provide cheap labour to other countries.
Bikram also changed his opinion and began studying engineering. Bir Bahadur has worked for the past 6 months in India and earned himself money for his air ticket. He is 23 by now, but he did not pass the final examination and should be able now to lead a life of his own. Dinesh has been working for 3 months in a Kathmandu hotel.
Sija returned to Nepal after her au-pair-job in Germany, and ever since the new teacher Namrata left the Children’s Home she now manages together with other elder children the home under Khim’s guidance. It is very difficult to find good educators in Nepal. There is no profession by this name, and most people who work in Children’s World are in the beginning very enthusiastic about it, because they hope to get a chance to go to the West through us. As soon as they realize however that this is impossible, they quickly drop their jobs. It is already two months by now that Namrata has left, but life in the Children’s home is running smoothly, and the elder children and our faithful employees are managing everything very well. Children stay more time than usual „at home“. Since the Maoists strengthened their influence on Kathmandu, all schools were closed for 8 days for fear of repression and nobody dared to go outside to the street.
Kusum and Muna are the most difficult girls of our big family, but both are rather ambitious and therefore curb their high spirits to some extent, for fear of losing otherwise their place in Children’s World. Tenzing is a brilliant student, but he has a superiority complex and in the past few months he disturbed the general atmosphere in the children’s home to such an extent that we had to separate him from others. This would be a case for a good psychotherapist, but in Nepal this kind of „luxury“ is not available anywhere. For a little money we fixed him up with the man who usually sells us vegetables. During the day he attends school and for the time being this solution seems to be all right. He also fears to lose his chance so that he obviously became more careful.
After living for 6 months in the streets, Santosh does astonishingly well with his carpenter’s training. He reveres his „master“, and this type of substitute father provides him great mental stability.
Our „troublesome daughter“ Shanta, who is yet loved by everybody, turned up a few days ago in the children’s home with her baby. Her husband disappeared for good and reportedly is in prison in India. For the past 6 months she has been attending again school and making good progress. Now her son Elias will stay during the day with the baby of our cook Anita in children’s home. In the evening Shanta retires together with Anita to a rented room outside of the children’s home. We feel that these two „abandoned“ women should have the semblance of independent life. Otherwise our children might think we are going to build another children’s home for the second generation!
Shree Krishna will return to Kathmandu in December for one-month holidays from his boarding school in India. Also our blind, brave Goma returned for 4 weeks from New Delhi and is happy that her big friend Bikram did not go to Dubai. Raj Kumar suffers as every winter from the cold weather, and one room is specially kept heated all day long for him. He got a support corset made by the best orthopaedic specialist in Kathmandu, which keeps his frail body upright. Many times he utters rather sadly, how much he wishes he could work. But most of the time he is of good humour, especially when he finds a chance to irritate the kind Meghraj, who lovingly takes care of him.
The children are growing up, and those who leave us, are now fluent in English and able to earn their own living. For others who want to continue their studies, we need much money, because universities and institutes are becoming more and more expensive. For this reason we decided not to admit any more children for the time being.
We shall send the receipts immediately by beginning of January for any donations, which we will be credited to the account of our society in response to this letter. Since we are now in a position to issue the official receipts ourselves this does not give any problem anymore.
We pass on to all of you the heartiest Christmas greetings from Kathmandu and we wish you all a happy feast and a prosperous, healthy New Year. Many thanks for your continuous support!
With kind regards
Elisabeth Montet - Uwe Pohlig