Only now, after eight months, the negotiations between the Maoists and the Alliance of All Parties of Nepal have led to an agreement. While the representatives of both sides did not budge an inch for a long time, the rebels used the opportunity to gain a foothold in Kathmandu und now they rule daily life in the city.
Their organizing ability - something that is not common in Nepal - is their major advantage. They free the city from the stinking garbage that litters every street and alley. Within one hour they can paralyze Kathmandu whenever they want to protest against anything. They garnered the support of a large part of the population und whatever actions they decide to undertake, will work out smoothly.
According to the recently signed agreement 85 of 330 seats of the interim parliament, which will be in session soon, will be allotted to the bigger conservative party of the former Prime Minister Koirala. 73 seats each go to the Maoists and the official communist party, while the remaining seats will be divided among the remaining five parties. After the formation of this parliament an interim government will be elected. The Maoists demand that, after the elections which are scheduled for June 2007, their 35.000 soldiers should be incorporated into the regular Nepalese army. Until then the rebels will remain in their 28 camps that are scattered over 7 provinces of the country. Under the supervision of the UN their weapons will be locked away in containers, yet the rebels themselves will keep the keys of those containers!
The Nepalese commoners celebrate peace but the intellectuals of the country regard this agreement as rather unstable, the more so as no real decision to develop the country has been announced so far.
Thanks to our project the inhabitants of Children's World and those of the slums are safeguarded against extreme poverty. Yet fate dealt us a massive blow when we had to organize terminal palliative care for our Pramod, who was dying from Leukaemia. This was the darkest moment in the history of Children's Aid Nepal. It is painful enough to see elder people go, especially one's own parents, but to watch the death of such a beautiful and sweet 16 year old boy, who was like a son for those among us who are women, proved to be a heavy blow which even now, four months after, is hard to cope with. His body was cremated in the traditional way, unfortunately before the eyes of impertinent tourists who filmed and photographed the ceremony from the other bank of the river as if it was a show. His brother Prakash wanted to have him buried, but both the Christian and Muslim cemeteries of the Kathmandu Valley refused to accept a Hindu among their dead.
Of course at Children's World we are fooling around again as before, of course we laugh again, but nothing is as it was before. We pamper our completely paralyzed Raj Kumar, who although he doesn't speak about it, knows very well that he might be the next one who has to go. Regarding the donations for the blood cell separator, please refer to the protocol of the annual meeting of our members. Of recent, there are only 25 smaller children left at Children's World and the administration of the house lies in the hands of women only. Meena is responsible for the children's house, while Sija proceeds with the slum project with immense commitment.
In this present letter we wish to give you a survey of what has become of all of "our" children of the past 17 years. Apart from the 25 younger ones, who still attend school, we also support some of the older ones financially by paying the high tuition fees for them. To cover the rest of their expenses they have to work themselves.
Here is a list of our former students:
The following of our former students now completely live by themselves:
In addition 10 of the 15 girls of our three years project for alphabetization und tailoring run a small repair shop in their village to make ends meet. Of the others we lost sight.
Except for: Nanu, 24, who completed high school and college on her own and now is assistant to a Swiss relief organisation that drills wells and builds a school in her village.
Quite for sure none of our "children" has become a VIP, but if we consider how underfed they were in their early childhood, we should rejoice, that all except for three have completed higher secondary school and most of them even college. Without your support many would have died, since the rate of childhood mortality remains high in Nepal. Our "children" may not be rich, but they can live a dignified life and - with three exceptions - they continue to keep heartfelt contact with Children's World and are full of gratitude towards us. We give the same opportunities to the younger generation that now lives in the house, but we will not accept any more children.
In future we shall focus on the slum work, where we already achieved quite a lot. It is a laborious work that pays off greatly, especially regarding the health of the 150 children. Since they get food rich in vitamins and minerals on a regular basis they are brighter at school and achieve better results now. Hygiene remains our biggest problem, but Sija and her aides regularly call the mothers for meetings and try to prevail on them in this regard. This time it was the nurse Sweccha who went to them and pointed out to them the most important items of daily hygiene. The women always listen most attentively, but seem to forget what they learnt immediately after. Sija feels that only regular and sensitive work in every single hut would bring about any change. Currently she is very concerned with a case of child abuse. An organisation specialised in this matter brought the case to court: The man, who has been violating his 12 year old daughter for months, is now in prison. The girl is very disturbed, badly hurt and will by no means leave her mother, who all these months has been her silent witness to the abuse. The child kept silent out of shame and the mother out of fear from her husband, who threatened to beat them both, in case they talked to outsiders about his crime. Sija is traumatized by the fact that one of her students suffered and kept silent for such a long time so that we had to comfort her and give her the strength to continue her work.
All children at Children's World, who enjoy such a good life, as well as the mothers and children of the slums have asked us to convey to you, who help them to lead a much better life than most other Nepalese, their warmest thanks. We also want to express our heartfelt thanks and wish you a Merry Christmas and a good and prosperous New Year 2007!
All our best wishes to you!