Helping children help themselves

The dilapidated and dented bus roared up spewing fumes and spilling out a conductor who called Parsa, Lumbini. Immediately a throng pushed for entry - door, windows, or ladder to the rooftop.

LUMBINI, NEPAL

The dilapidated and dented bus roared up spewing fumes and spilling out a conductor who called Parsa, Lumbini.

Immediately a throng pushed for entry – door, windows, or ladder to the rooftop. Busha, elbows out, jumped up, then wiggled through a window, and saved me a seat so I wouldn’t have to stand jammed in tight for a one-hour bone-jarring trip. The 7 p.m. – last bus of the day – was stuffed in seconds.

Some kids, just like some people, get under your skin – in a pleasant way.

Busha is one of those kids.

When we were both at the children’s home near Lumbini, Busha was known for helping. If he wasn’t making my life easier, he’d be off on his bicycle shopping in the market for the kids in the children’s home. He protected the little girls like Binu or Janaki from older, more aggressive school kids and of course he worried and fretted about his sibling orphan – Rohit.

Now Busha is in his last year of college at the Whitehouse International College in Kathmandu. He has felt some pressure to complete his goal as a math or science teacher. The goal seemed so far away, but with financial support from Yukon donors the approximate $1,500 a year for fees, books and living expenses has taken off the main pressure. $1,500 is an incredibly huge sum in a country where many people survive on less than $1 a day and wages are often less than $4 a day.

Busha has a 66 per cent average in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Nepali and English.

In September 2010, he had emailed to say he was at the end of his funds and his family could not afford to help him. He hoped that “Grandma” could help him finish his last year.

After a transcript of marks from the college, and an assurance that education would continue, we sent a first installment via Western Union. More money is sent as required.

Four other orphans, from the Children’s Home in Nepal, need educational and living expense help beginning in March 2011. They are:

Nipa (17) and Nikhil (15). They are a brother and sister whose parents cannot support them.

Mina (17). Mina has no parents. Her guardians live in the vicinity but cannot provide support.

Rohit (16). Rohit is Busha’s brother. He has an over 80 per cent average in all classes and it would be sad if he could not continue his education.

These children would attend Sunshine English Boarding High Secondary School.

It is about 30 kilometres from where they are presently living. At this time Rosemarie and I hope people will step forward with any amount of money so these four children can stay in school.

We seek $6,000 for four kids for one year of education. Without support they will have to leave the children’s home as they are getting too old.

Without training they will be on the street and probably begging for food.

Meanwhile, the entire children’s home has been in recovery mode for just over one year.

It is no longer a place the children want to be. They stay there as it is their only home.

Some 15 months ago, I received an email from an individual who was doing some volunteer work for me there. This person was teaching computer skills, some reading and also art. Some of the oldest children came to her one evening and asked if she would please email me.

The elder girls, Neepa and Mina, were crying. With trembling voices and obviously terrified they asked my volunteer to contact me. The girls stated that the founder of the orphanage and the main fundraiser, was asking both girls and boys to give him massages at night while he was mostly naked. He preferred girls, and so they had to do longer massages than the boys. This happened daily.

The girls and boys were terrified, and didn’t know what to do. They were afraid to say no because he hit them and sometimes took away food.

My daughter, Rosemarie – who is the other half of Hands of Hope – was in Nepal. We investigated – I from here and Rosemarie in Nepal and India.

As the man was not from Nepal, there were additional sources to look into. We knew the person had philanthropically set up a children’s home and helped other schools.

We also knew he had been in a horrific vehicle accident prior to our knowledge of the sexual misconduct that had taken place. Did losing his hands in the accident create such trauma? Why did a person, supposedly respected for helping so many children and adults too, have a passion for abusing kids?

We verified what this older man was doing. He was confronted by the children’s home committee and told his behaviour was not acceptable. He was told to stop. This man left Nepal in anger, pocketing much of the home’s funding and taking or redistributing some physical items. Police were not notified.

Why, you ask?

Please do not forget. Nepal has had 10 years of civil war and additionally more than four years of civil unrest. In a country where about 20,000 insurgent troops are in “compounds” supposedly with armaments looked after by the UN, where any distrust and upset is set off with burning tires and marches, strikes, even hunger strikes and where there are shootings and deaths that cannot be traced, it is best to not involve authorities.

As the Nepali saying is “When two bulls are fighting it is best to not get in between”.

Meanwhile the kids did do some begging when they were low on funds, and raised chickens and did what they could to feed 17 kids (about $500 a month).

That issue is mostly cleared up as Rosemarie has found some Nepali donors, but the original fear has not left. An unsavoury individual wanted to stay at the children’s home and provide support, but changed his mind and made threatening noises. We forget here the ever present real danger of kids being stolen for the sex market.

One must be careful.

Obviously, we haven’t run out of things to do. The children need support. That is a given. All money from Yukon supporters was and is safe. The man had no access to the money we sent as it was sent for specific items – clothes, food, school fees – to a specific person. At other times we carried funds with us and bought what was needed. In November 2010, Rosemarie purchased food, clothing, hair cuts and other basic necessities for the kids – such as underwear and personal hygiene cloths for the girls (disposable items are out of the question cost wise).

School expenses (including back charges) are paid. We also added to the library in the adjacent school. Seventeen orphans attend school and look to 2011 as a year of change.

As for Busha, he emailed me this week, with more receipts for his school purchases, assuring me he was spending everything responsibly, “Grandma.”

He wrote that there are almost 18 hours a day of “load shedding” or power cuts. This makes studying, email, business and life in general a continuing challenge in a country beset with unrest. After innumerable elections the good news is that Nepal finally has a Prime Minister with Maoist support. The bad news is that already there are rumours afoot that rightists will try to topple this government.

However, Nepali people are amazing in their patience and fortitude. Busha studies, as do the other 17 orphans. They all dream of a better life, but realize grimly that their options are limited.

If you would like further information please contact us through: briggs@yukonforestcabins.com or 668-7082. We do pay all our expenses.

Hands of Hope is holding a fundraising event Saturday April 9th at the Yukon College cafeteria.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Most Read