Challenges and Potential

Special Challenges of Children

A decade of violence during the Maoist war left an estimated 40,000 children displaced, 8000 orphaned, according to the UN. School has also been disrupted, with thousands closed by the Maoists during the war.

Because family connections are everything in Nepal, the burden of poverty falls severely on children whose parents have died or are too sick to care for them, or are themselves destitute. These children end up begging and sleeping on the streets. Some young children are sent to Kathmandu by family members to work as servants to help support their family in the village back home.

Children with Disabilities

The most disadvantaged of all are children with disabilities. In Nepalese culture, these children can be considered curses. They are seen as something shameful, perhaps a punishment for a sin of the family. In Kathmandu, a child with a disability—crippled from polio, blind or deaf, burned or without limbs—often will end up on the street. In the villages, disabled children rarely receive an education.

Enormous Potential

Beneath all this tragedy lies enormous potential, like a Himalayan spring hiding beneath the snows. However impoverished or disabled, and however difficult the circumstances that surround them, Nepalese children have an enormous capacity for happiness and success. We have seen it hundreds of times. So many of them have that special light in their eyes that speaks of hope, if only someone would give them a helping hand. When we clothe and feed these children, send them to school, and provide love and support, they blossom, growing into active, happy, healthy individuals who are capable of giving back to their society.