In Nepal, we have been able to provide regular food stipend support and COVID-19 emergency food supplies to 53 reunified children and their families. Our team are calling twice weekly to check in on welfare and wellbeing. Your donations have meant we can act quickly to ensure families have the support they need when they need it the most. Thank you!
There are many more children and families that desperately need our help. Please donate if you can. Below are some pics of what lockdown looks like in Nepal. Names changed, of course.
Mina takes time to study for exams.
Sumit helps in the kitchen preparing meals for his family.
Pavi has set up a salon to do her sister’s hair!
And there is plenty of singing to keep spirits high!
Today we received this video message of thanks from Patrick Rhuweza, our Project Coordinator in Uganda, along with the report below. Your efforts are making a difference and we are so very grateful, now and always.
You gotta feel proud to be part of our mighty Herd!
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe Uganda currently has 58 confirmed cases. As a means to control the rapid spread, the government of Uganda put in place measures aimed at controlling the congregation of many people in one place. As a result all schools and colleges were closed for a period of one month until 20 April 2020.
The closure of institutions took place before a single case of COVID-19 was detected in Uganda and following the emergence of confirmed cases more guidelines were put in place. Including closure of public transport as well as private transport, which marked the beginning of a complete lockdown of the whole country.
Today the movement of people is completely banned unless with permission from government officials and work places are closed down.
Children under our sponsorship, and their families, have been going through extremely hard times with numerous calls made to me on a daily basis along with dire voice messages. It breaks my heart when I hear our boys and girls speak with frail voices as they tell me their stories of hunger.
Some told me that they had spent two days without food.
Our usually energetic boys and girls are directly affected by COVID-19 given the fact that all of them come from families without capacity to survive beyond a week without an opportunity to search for food on a daily basis.
It is now a month since the lockdown started and the Government has announced an extension of the lockdown for the next three weeks.
Families will definitely be affected, especially grandparents looking after their grandchildren as part of the Nanna Project, and our HIV positive children are extremely vulnerable at this time.
Most of the families we are supporting are either headed by widows, grandmothers or by children themselves.
Emergency funds were sent by Forget Me Not and used to buy food to #feedourfamilies through dealing with shop owners or sending money through mobile money transactions.
We have supplied maize flour (posho), beans and cooking oil to benefit 125 people and feed them for about 3 weeks. We are at least sure that our children will not starve for the above period although in case the lockdown is extended, the same situation may reoccur.
We are dealing with a matter of life and death, and promise to keep monitoring the situation and suggest proposals on how we continue to protect our children from the risk of starvation.
As Project Coordinator I will keep closely in touch with all our children and update you as much as possible.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, support and donations.
Our Reintegration Officers (ROs) do such a great job and leave no stone unturned in the search for children’s families. Often facing difficult terrain and conditions each day in their search for families.
This is RO Pami in the field before lockdown was enforced and our team was required to return home to keep themselves and their families and communities safe.
RO Shreya was so happy to find the father and grandmother of three siblings after eight long years of separation and desperation.
RO Mangal is humble and proud of the important role he plays in reuniting children trafficked into orphanages with their families.
RO Sajit was in remote far west Bajura district on a mission to find families. He managed to find the families of three children!
In Humla, RO SaaGar met with locals to piece together information that will identify and rebuild families in their remote community.
Bijay and his little brother are happy to be home with their beloved grandfather who is their guardian now after reuniting with their family.
Right now our team are set up to work from home, connecting with each other via tech (when it’s working!) and keeping in regular communication with children and families via phone.
Children and families are relying on us and we will not let them down! If you can help us – we sure could use the support.
“Kindness is a force, and care it’s open hand.”
Andrea Nave CEO
Nepal Country Director Anju Pun in remote Jharlang.
FMN co-founder Dr Kate van Doore shares her opinion on ABC News.
I thought I was helping a vulnerable orphan escape poverty. Then I realised I could be making her situation worse.
She was just four when we met, with deep brown eyes, short dark hair and a missing smile.
I knew her as Alisha, a civil war orphan living with five other little girls in the orphanage that I had co-founded in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2006.
We were told her parents had died in the war and that she had been brought to Kathmandu, and that we shouldn’t ask questions about her parents or family, or how she had come to be living in an orphanage.
We kept our questions to ourselves and heaped our love upon her instead.
Over the years, Alisha and I grew very close.
She was my sponsor child and I visited every six months on behalf of Forget Me Not, the charity we had formed to support the orphanage in Nepal.
We regarded each other as family.
Many times as I held and comforted her, I wondered about her parents and how she had ended up in my arms instead of theirs.
Watch ABCs Foreign Correspondent on March 3 at 8pm.
Learn about orphanage trafficking.
Know you can be part of the solution.
“The cold hard facts are there aren’t enough ‘orphans’ to volunteer with. So, the orphans are being invented.” (Kate van Doore, Forget Me Not)
Every year thousands of Australians donate money or volunteer in developing countries such as Nepal, helping to house and educate orphans.
But are we really doing good?
Foreign Correspondent travels to Nepal to uncover an ugly truth: most of the children living in the more than 500 orphanages across the country are not orphans. Many are the victims of traffickers, who prey on poor families in remote areas desperate to give their children an education in the city.
Westerners, including Australians, are driving this exploitative trade. Traffickers deliver the children to illegal orphanages where they’re used to attract foreign donors and volunteers.
Australian lawyer Kate van Doore found out the hard way. In 2006, she co-founded an orphanage in Kathmandu, taking in a group of girls from another institution. It was more than 5 years before she discovered that every one of them had living families.
Now Kate and her organisation are working with the Nepali government to stop the flow of foreign funds, to close illegal orphanages, and return the children home to their families.
Reporter Sally Sara follows the journey of 10-year-old Devi and a group of trafficked children as they travel from Kathmandu to their villages in the Himalayas.
It’s a moving, confronting and, ultimately, hopeful story.
‘I was worried, and I regretted sending her. I’m just so glad we have Devi back’. (Kalawati, Devi’s mother.)
Watch Paper Orphans on Foreign Correspondent on March 3, Tuesday night at 8pm on ABC and also on iview.
Today is International Day of People with Disability. As an organisation we have prioritised inclusivity more each year and as a forever-learning organisation we know we can always do more!
The 2019 theme is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. One such impressive leader is the fabulous Barma.
Barma’s vision impairment does not blur her focus on building safer communities for children where they are not bullied for being ‘different’.
Recently Barma shared her personal story of ‘orphanage life’ changing the hearts and minds of more than 60 government officials in Chitwan. She confidently asked for their commitment to create child safe communities.
Barma is a Forget Me Not Change Agent and valued member of the ETC. Team currently working on sustainable alternatives to voluntourism in Kathmandu.