Education and Health Nepal was set up by two Englishman with a love of Nepal and its people. We started out working in slum areas, rural farming projects and schools. We then added children’s homes to the EHNs list of projects. After about 18 months and 8 to 10 Children’s homes later we couldn’t justify sending paying volunteers to these anymore of these homes. The reason for this is simple, we have yet to see a benefit to the children in the homes and the Orphanage we worked with and the childcare community is getting more and greedier.
If you are a volunteer who has dreams of helping orphans in under developed countries then you should really take into account that you may not be helping the children in anyway. If that’s not bad enough you may also be contributing to a growing child abuse issue. In Nepal there are many ways the children are obtained for the homes, some are just relatives of the home owners, and others are from families in poor villages that thought they were giving their child a chance at a better life. In fact what is happening is the children are taken away with a promise of a good home and education but in reality they are used to con volunteers into sponsoring them and giving money. The system is such that the people taking the children ask for the birth certificate if they are to take the child. This is then burnt and new documents are drafted making the child an orphan even though they have parents.
Things a volunteer should look out for when volunteering in an Orphanage or Children’s home in Nepal.
1: The children are to dependant on the volunteers… This is normally because they have been trained to do so or they are treated so badly that only when a volunteer is around are that shown any love or care.
2: Bad skin and hair… This shows a lack of health care for the children and in some cases the bad skin is the first sign of protein deficiency. They should always get some meat and or milk and eggs.
3: Bad clothes… If the home is run well the children will have clean clothes and shoes plus toothbrush and other hygiene products. In allot of cases the donated toys and clothes are sold off for extra profit plus it means the home owners can ask for more money.
4: Being pushed to sponsor a child or repeated complaints about not having enough money to run the home… Again if the project is well run most homes and orphanages in Nepal have been well supported for years. Also some homes have far too many children so the question you should ask is why take so many of you can’t support them?
6: NO toys or books to use… Most volunteers bring some items to donate and in allot of cases the children only get them while you’re there. This is again another source of income for the home owners. I have personal experience of a home owner taking books and pens to a stationary shop two after receiving themas a donation. He even asked another volunteer to help him pack them!
You may finish reading this and think “Why would I want to volunteer in Nepal now” in answer to that.
1: Nepal is the poorest country in Asia now and is seriously lacking behind other countries in terms on development.
2: Even with the information above Nepal does have some great children’s homes that need help and support to continue their work.
3: There are many other ways to help the children of Nepal and if you look at the way in which a rural Nepali child grows up compared to a well-run children’s home I would have to say the rural life is much harder even with parents.
4: Once you get past the few corrupt locals out to make money you will find the general population of Nepal some of the warmest and most welcoming people around. Add to that jungles, forests, rivers, valleys, gorges and of course the Himalayas mountains and you have one of planet earth most amazing diverse countries.