I’m well aware of the fact that this home is deeply below standards. I have seen pictures and heard testimonies of other placements volunteers from my program work in and this orphanage is by FAR the worst. I’ve even visited another orphanage here to see how they are properly run.
And that is because the people running it do NOT have their heart in it. This is something I have been well aware of and not something I hide either and have spoken about it publicly as well as privately. The director of the home is a politician and mainly running it for political reasons. She is very corrupt and there is a complete absence of bookkeeping.
I have talked about this much with the volunteer coordinators of my program but it’s a very difficult situation. The director has deep political associations all within the Nepali government (her party is currently in power) and I’ve been told it will be impossible to remove her. She is neglectful but there are some positives to her being a politician - the children all go to the best schools in the area (where a majority were top in their class) and they receive an abundance of clothes from the community. Also many go to receive higher education when they leave.
However that does not make any excuse for her.
But there have been many improvements since I first arrived at the orphanage 3 months ago. When I first came it was horrible and shocking. A doctor came the second day to do a checkup of the children and deemed the living conditions were unsanitary, no duh. The children had scabies and their beds had bed bugs. We did a major cleanup of the building and did a pesticide spraying of the building and removed a lot of hazards. Since then, the director has been moving forward to completing the building and the kitchen has been moved and upgraded. We just got in 4 new iron bunk beds because there weren’t enough beds (another roommate’s parents and our volunteer organization paid for them and all new matresses and bedding.)
We also give the kids vitamins and lotion every day. The chapping on their skin has gone away except on one girl. We also take them to the doctor when they need it. Also no more scabies or bed bugs. So things have been improving.
In the case of the girls who aren’t old enough: this is definitely referring to Sani (2), Roshni (2), and Susmita (4). Sani and Susmita were brought here by the police about a week before I arrived. Their parent(s) had abandoned them on the street. Roshni is the daughter of a widow who also lives at the orphanage and receives some payment for work. After her husband died a year or two ago she had no where to go and can’t speak English. The orphanage allows her to stay there with her two children.
Fortunately my organization is building a new nestling home in Pokhara and it should be complete in about a year, and many of the children will be transferred there.
Essentially, I’m aware of the condition and I agree with you. This is something I’ve considered and discussed a lot (with two other directors of different organizations separate from mine and they tell me it is more complex than that. (I have even more reasons I could explain also for this).
However I think volunteers coming here is valuable. Truth is 35 wonderful children live there, who I have become very close to over the last 3 months. I don’t think I’m wasting my time volunteering there, and neither do the kids. It’s good for them to have older role models and love from people and there exists a very strong bond between the volunteers and me.
That said, I’m actually moving on to a new site in the next few days to help teach English in a rural village near Pokhara.
I’m sorry this tumblr is not dedicated to me blogging my volunteer experience. I hardly keep up with it, and so viewers do not at all get a full view of what’s going on here.
I’m volunteering at a place called Nepal Women’s and Children’s Service Society in Jorpati - Narayantar, Kathmandu. I volunteer through the local Nepali organization Hope & Home. :)