Our Sansar is opening a children’s home in Birgunj, Nepal. We are focusing our work on street children and also children who are on the verge of becoming street children for various reasons such as conflict, abandonment, imprisonment of parents, poverty.
We have consulted a number of local and international NGOs working on the ground and also local schools, authorities, committees and are trying to adapt a model that would be sustainable and that would help the children with not only a roof over their heads but also will help them secure the future they deserve. We are doing that by having qualified and experienced staff – psychologists, case workers, teachers, skills trainers – working with the children and also by partnerships with local organisations and businesses that will be able to provide the children with internships at some point and with jobs in the future.
There are about 150 street children in Birgunj and most of these children do not have a place to go to at night. Many of these children find themselves living on the streets in urban areas and attempt to earn money in marginal economic activities such as collecting rags, shining shoes, dishwashing in hotels, pulling carts and rickshaws and begging. Street children are highly vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse.
Trafficking of children also occurs with children being ‘recruited’ often for an exchange of money. These children will often then be used for domestic labour, carpet weaving and a variety of other jobs. They and their families are lured by promises of good employment but the reality is very different with very low pay, if any at all, and harsh living and working conditions.
There are a number of things that we need to take into account whilst running the home so we are first doing a pilot project where we will accommodate 10 children shortly and making sure that we get experienced staff and all necessary education and training for the children. The pilot project will run for about 12 months and this will give us an idea if the permanent building should be in the same area or if we need to change it for any reasons. We will then be able to take another 10 street children to the home and then double the number after one year.