2015 has been a challenging year for the whole of Nepal. The devastating earthquakes, the new constitution, aggressive protests and the blockade at the border of Nepal has left the country in a vulnerable position. The entire nation has a lack of supplies being delivered, and with winters getting colder (the lowest temperature at higher altitudes being -2°C in December 2014)* the people of Nepal are completely unprepared.
Petrol stations are closed nationally, creating a black market for the product with un-affordable prices. Gas supplies are no longer available and electric cuts are far more frequent than usual. This means that gas heaters and cooking appliances are no longer available and electrical items are less reliable for their users. The lack of gas has resulted in an increase in wood fires for both cooking and heating purposes, making even this resource very difficult to obtain.
We are therefore determined to assist the children in any way that we can. We have already bought an insulating foam for the walls and are making curtains to cover the walls in order to provide an extra layer for warmth. Daylight provides sufficient warmth for the children, however the days are becoming very short and the days becoming colder and colder. The lack of heating options available means we are reliant on warm clothing. The children wear their winter jackets all day and put on even more layers to stay warm.
The children need as many warm clothing as they can. We are therefore determined to provide more coats, trousers and warm pyjamas for the children! We are also aiming to get electrical heaters, which are able to use and store electrical energy. So when power-cuts occur, rooms can still be heated using the stored energy. We will ensure that all the children we are helping stay warm and healthy during this winter. We also need to buy carpets to keep the floors warm in order for the children to be able to study in comfortable conditions. And, of course, there are many more street children in need – we want to provide blankets and warm clothes through our outreach support.
Our Winter Woolies campaign is committed to help the children keep warm this winter! Please support our Winter Woolies campaign and help us keep the kids who have already been through a lot, warm this December and January.
From December 1st to December 31st, GlobalGiving will be matching ALL monthly donations! For every new monthly donation that is set up on the GlobalGiving.co.uk website, we will receive an equal donation from GlobalGiving! Please visit our winter campaign page here: http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/projects/winter-woolies-keep-street-kids-cosy/
From all of us at Our Sansar, a massive thank you in advance for all your help!
*Information taken from: http://www.visitnepal.com/travelers_guide/when_to_come.php
Fuel shortages and political violence following a two-week blockade on the Indian border are making providing aid and charitable support to local communities increasingly difficult for our team in Nepal.
In the southern Terai region, necessities such as medicine are not making their way into Nepal and there is widespread worry about possible food shortages as trucks sit stationary, choking supplies.
The recent adoption of a new constitution by Nepal’s Government has led to violence around the country and at least 40 people have been killed in clashes during the past month, while thousands of protesters have blocked the border.
Many border regions have become too violent to work in, preventing help from reaching the area’s most vulnerable, while there are reports of street children being used in clashes with police and others seeking refuge in India.
Street children in Birgunj, where the Our Sansar children’s home is situated, are being used by Madhesi parties to throw stones and attack vehicles.
“We can’t even reach out to them to try and help them due to safety reasons,” Our Sansar director Julia Krepska said.
“People in Raxaul – a town in India on the border – are providing food to the protesters as they are supporting the protests against the constitution, and now many street children from Nepal are going across the border and get fed there.”
The situation has become critical.
“We are still provided with some supplies – we just need to call the shop owners and then they provide us with food – but we don’t know how long this will last for, and the supplies will end at some point,” Julia said.
“We cannot visit our projects easily, children don’t go to school, many shops are closed.”
Strikes and protests have also affected public services and children have been out of school for nearly two months – while around the country, all non-emergency transport has been halted.
“The schools have been now closed for about 50 days, before then they were closed due to the earthquake, then summer holidays – so children in the Birgunj area this year have hardly had any classes,” Julia said.
“Our project manager, Ayush, can’t even refill his motorbike to visit and reach out to children in more remote villages, which is an essential part of our work.”
Nepal is still reeling from a devastating earthquake which killed more than 8,700 people in April and the unrest is now pushing up prices for necessities for those who could least afford them.
The situation in the border towns is also affecting Our Sansar’s work for child survivors of the earthquakes in Dhading.
“We can’t send some of the Dhading children to their families due to the lack of transport – we’re all pretty much stuck where we are,” Julia said.
Navavarsha means a New Year in the Nepali calendar. There are actually three New Year celebrations that occur in Nepal; Navavarsha, the Tibetan New Year and the New Year of the Gregorian calendar. The Nepali calendar is known as Bikram Sambat and begins with the first month of Baisakh.
There are always a large number of festivals and religious events occur in Nepal during Navavarsha. The day begins with prayers and worships inside temples and the Hindu ritual of Puja. After Puja is presented, locals will walk around the temple in an anti-clockwise direction, whilst ringing bells. People go for picnics, have get-togethers and celebrate the day socializing in various ways as this day is also a national holiday.
The celebration of the Navavarsha also comes with many leisure activities that include street dances, parades and family reunions. The occasion has always been enthusiastically participated and fully funded by the organizations and individuals. Parts of the event are the traditional games and sports that the people organize during this day.
All of the children at Our Sansar celebrated by having a lovely meal of dhal (lentils), bhat, pakauda and achar (pickle) and chicken curry. This meal is traditional for the Terai region. In this region, there are less celebrations compared to regions with many tourists such as Kathmandu. However the children may not have had the luxury to celebrate the Nepali New Year at all, if it wasn’t for all the work by Our Sansar.
We’re hoping that they are able to celebrate the Nepali New Year, every year. And we want more of Nepal’s street children to celebrate with them. You can help us achieve this – by buying a chicken! Find out more about this here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/buy-a-chicken/
Happy Navavarsha to all! We hope everyone has a great Nepali year 2072!
*For more information on Navavarsha, please see: http://www.nepal.com/blog/nepali-new-year-navavarsha
I’m sure you’ll all agree how wonderful it’s been the past few months to see Our Sansar’s Children Home progress and flourish; from seeing the boys excel in class to playing guitar to enjoying helping out with the new chickens! It’s easy to forget how far they’ve come. Settling into a new home is a difficult transition especially for children going into the unknown; introducing a child into the home is always a delicate situation. One of the most delicate introductions the staff at Our Sansar have had took place last Friday…
Our Sansar staff and the District Child Welfare Board had been working together to help rescue a 5 year old boy from the streets of Parsa, Birgunj. The young boy had previously spent his entire life living on the streets with his mother. Harinath Prasad Sha (the police officer who helped lead the rescue), said “We organised this rescue with an aim of providing the boy with some much needed care and education.”
Local teacher, Sabtiri Banjare noted she once asked the mother to start sending her son to the local school; but the mother refused claiming she was capable of teaching her son herself. Up until this point the young boy has received little, if no form of education.
Police claim the mother arrived in town when the boy was only three months old, and witnesses stated she would often experience strange episodes which resulted in physical abuse towards the young boy. Officers agreed this rescue should have happened a long time ago, and were grateful that Our Sansar were able to step in and help.
While similar stories to this are no doubt taking place in dozens of locations around the world, Our Sansar is currently the only charity providing this kind of help and support in the region.
We’d therefore like to extend a huge thank all those who’ve helped.
We’ll keep you updated.
To learn more about the work Our Sansar do, or to find out how you can support our cause visit: www.OurSansar.org
We have lots of exciting updates to bring you from Nepal over the next few days…
Julia and Clint have been out visiting the boys in Our Sansar’s Children’s Home. They’ve been seeing how the boys are getting on and settling into the home – but also improving the home and ensuring all your generous donations go directly to the boys.
As children who have spent a lot of time either living on the streets or coming from homes that could barely afford to feed them – they’ve all had very little chance to enjoy the ‘normal’ treats we often take for granted.
So…. Julia and Clint brought the boys some exciting new gifts for them to enjoy this summer!
One of the boy’s favourite treats was their first EVER dip into a swimming pool:
As you can imagine there was quite a splash!
The house now also has a musical instrument for the boys to practice on –
The boys loved it, and have been carrying it all around the house playing. Clint gave them a few quick lessons (which they kindly then tried to teach to Julia).
Bubbles have been a HUGE hit 🙂
“The children are amazing, very sweet, playful, polite and really keen to study and gain knowledge.”
Stay tuned and we’ll be bringing you more updates from Nepal soon.
Thank you all!
Nitin and Mina Changela recently climbed to Everest Base Camp in order to raise money for Our Sansar as well as visiting our Children’s Home in Birgunj.
This is their story:
“Everest Base Camp Summit has been on my wish list for years. So in early 2013, I began researching the serious training and stamina building that would be needed for those intensive long day treks. After reviewing a few companies in the UK and Nepal I finally settled on one in Kathmandu. With my wife Mina joining me for her 50th birthday we decided to book an extra week visiting the Chitwan National Park, Pokhara and Our Sansar’s children’s home in Birgunj – this seemed fitting having decided to raise money for the home through our trek.
Reaching the capital, Kathmandu on 9th April we stayed for 2 days to acclimatise to the 1600m. Our trek began at Lukla, to which we had to fly on a precarious 12-seater bi-plane – both our guide (Bale Tamang) and porter (Raju Tamang) joined us on this flight. Having chosen the longer 14 day trek to Base Camp via the Gokyo Lakes we began our 5 hour trek to Phakding.
Passing through beautiful picuresque villages, mountain paths and rivers we would ascend a maximum of 5,500 metres with Everest Base Camp at 5,400 metres. Our porter – having the hardest journey of all – would carry 25kg of luggage on his head!
We met some amazing people from all parts of the world. Each day, we would trek 7-10 hours reaching the next village before 5pm. Having dinner at 7pm we were all exhausted and in bed by 8pm, before getting up to start the next leg at 6am. The day before our ascent of Base Camp, an avalanche killed 16 sherpa guides at Base Camp 1, making it the worst accident to occur on Everest. Over the next few days we say several rescue helicopters, and the government halted summits of Everest for the rest of the season.
We began the ascent of Kala Pathar the next day at 3.30am – this was by far the coldest day when even 5 layers of clothes and two gloves were not enough to ward off the -15 deg C.
When we finally finished it was such a relief! 14 days with no mod cons and carrying 8kg backpacks was tough – and we still had the rest of Nepal to look forward to. Chitwan was a welcomed break as we played and bathed with elephants. Though after two days, we left for Birgunj picking up some treats of chocolate, crisps, biscuits and soft drinks for the children. On arrival we were warmly greeted by the children, Santosh, Mukesh and the rest of the staff at the children’s home. We also gave them 11kg of knitted clothes, hats and gloves – donated by the Charities Advisory Trust in the UK where our daughter works. Offering us lunch, Mukesh and Santosh then showed us around and gave us an insight into the children and their progress. Having learnt all about their stories and work, we’re so glad we decided to raise funds for them and WISH WE COULD DO MORE!”
If you’d like to add to Nitin and Mina’s donation page and help us do more for the Children’s Home