Here is an update from our team in Nepal.
Today we went to prison to meet the kids as well as see the whole situation over there. The boys are called Madan, age 11 and Purna. Their mother Ashmi was arrested for drug trafficking and had been in prison for a long time (we are not 100% on how long). She had already served her sentence but was ineligible for release as she could not afford the fine. Her husband, Prakash, is a rickshaw driver who spends all his income on alcohol. They are all from Raksaul. The boys have two sisters and one older brother as well. Kunja, who is 6 years, lives with her mother in prison. And the youngest daughter Bina (age 5) is in Kathmandu in a government run children shelter. Raju who is the eldest of them all, works in a farm in Motipur village in Raksaul.
Madan used to live with his older brother Raju while Purna worked at a local restaurant. When we asked Purna revealed that he studied till 2nd grade but left education as they wanted to come to Kathmandu. When they came to Birgunj, they spent around a week at a railway station, I asked them what they did during that period, and they just replied ‘nothing’. I could not get clear answer on how they managed to get into prison with their mother, but they had been in prison for about 10-12 days.
I saw other women with their little babies in prison. I felt an overwhelming sympathy for all the children in there. Most of women had been charged with drug trafficking. These women had just taken a risk to try to earn some money for their children. It was an extremely touching experience.