Birgunj, a city with many street boys
Birgunj, one of the biggest cities in Nepal, is a chaotic and noisy place. The roads here are bad. Even though it’s only 180 KM (115 miles) from Kathmandu, it can take more than 5 hours to drive here from Nepal’s capital.
Situated near India, this industrial city is the convenient place for trade and factories, but also a breeding ground for trouble due to the open border. Poverty, drugs and sex slavery are huge problems here.
“Are you sure you want to go to Birgunj? It’s a miserable place to live, and impossibly difficult to get anything done.”
We were told by many, including some experienced NGOs in Nepal. The region is mostly populated by a minority race called Madeshi, and as such the problems they face just don’t get much attention in the media or from the government.
A community ready to help themselves – key to lasting change
But we were determined to find a way to help the kids. And what we found once we did our homework was nothing short of amazing.
A local charity started by donating the building for the children’s home. The local government is also very supportive and always very keen to work with us to assist the children living on the streets of Birgunj. And the local police signed up to help us find street children and their families, and monitor the welfare of the children on an ongoing basis. Today the police officers even bring food for the children when they come for a visit.
Communities who own the problem and actively participate in solving the problem are the only ones that can produce significant and lasing results. This is a key requirement for us when we kick off a project to ensure its long term success.