RISE: Covid-19 response & recovery II

Please join FMN CEO Andrea Nave in conversation with Forget Me Not’s global leadership team: Anju Pun (Nepal); Diptesh Singh (India); and, Patrick Rhuweza (Uganda).

6.30pm Monday 10 August 2020
via Zoom

We are so grateful to the many and varied donors who have given all you can during this very unsettling time. You have specifically and intentionally donated to provide emergency relief and food security for the people we know and love in India, Nepal and Uganda.

We have collectively assisted hundreds of children to be at home with their families during this time, sometimes after many months and years of unnecessary separation and sometimes to keep them from unnecessary separation.

We thank our teams on the ground in India, Nepal and Uganda for an incredible, unflappable and unfaltering commitment to serving humanity and making the world safer and more loving and especially kinder for children.

On Monday 10 August 2020 we will be host our second LIVE Zoom for donors and supporters to learn more about how your donations are providing emergency relief to children and their families. Register now to hear updates about FMNs ongoing response, predicted priorities and plans for recovery.

Limited registrations are available to ensure productive Q&A.

This event will be in English and guests will be provided with a link to join the Zoom meeting prior to the event start time of 6.30pm Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Please check your local corresponding time before registering. Please also let us know if you can no longer attend, that way we can extend the invitation to another guest on the event waiting list.

Register Here

Where are they now?

We first ran the RISE end-of-financial-year campaign in 2019 and shared with you the wonderful family reunification stories of six children that had been trafficked into orphanages in Nepal.

The process of finding families is long and painstaking. The reunification and reintegration process is also rigorous and involves assessing psycho-social, financial, community and other support. We provide intensive counselling and social work to ensure that children are ready to return home and that families are prepared to welcome them.

Our team monitors returned children and their families for as long as required.

We thought you might like to know how they are going!


We are happy to report that Meena is still living with her grandparents and aunt in Chitwan approximately 5hrs by road from Kathmandu. Her life in institutional care began when she was just 3 months old and ended at the age of 13. We found her family and she was returned home safely in June 2018.

Meena is happy to be with home with family although she says it is hard sometimes with very strict grandparents, especially her grandfather. She tells us that she feels deeply cherished and loved by them.

Meena believes she has done very well in her grade 7 exams and says her cousin helps her with study and life skills at home. It’s great that her school is just a 5 minute walk from home.

Everyone is safe and healthy. The family are all practicing good hygiene and washing their hands constantly, like the rest of us! The family says they are ok for food at the moment.


Shilu was 3 years old when she was admitted to an orphanage and spent 3 long years in institutional care.

After her rescue from the second largest orphanage of Nepal she was reunified with her paternal uncle because her mother was working in India. Shilu’s mother was home for the holidays when COVID-19 lockdown was enforced so her stay has been extended indefinitely.

The silver lining is of course that darling Shilu has been lapping up the loving care and extra time she’s been able to have with her mother.

Shilu is a quick learner and very active girl. She has a lovely friendship circle in the village and they play together often. Shilu happily helps her mother with household chores including cooking and looking after the family pets. She is doing well in school, achieving excellent results and has great respect and care for her elders.

Shilu wants to be a teacher and already loves teaching younger students the alphabet!

The family are COVID-19 aware, are healthy and looking after each other well, and have received some emergency relief.

Kinu & Sunmaya

One year after their father died three-year-old Kinu and eighteen month old Sunmaya were admitted to an orphanage. Now after 13 long years of separation, these sisters are home with their family. We have provided extra support to the family because the adjustment from orphanage to family was significantly hard for the girls and their single mother.

Bicycles were provided to help them get to and from school and that has saved many commuting hours each week.

This no doubt helped them focus more time on studies and being promoted to Grades 8 and 9. Their school has closed during lockdown and both are trying to keep up with their studies from home.

The girls are happy and healthy and enjoying extra time at home with their mother and older sister. They promise to keep up the good work, practice personal hygiene and social distancing and call if they need help. We check in with them twice a week also!

Geeta & Arana

These gorgeous sisters were passed into orphanage life due to poor health and poverty at home. Geeta was a toddler when she entered an orphanage and years later Arana was admitted when she was school age. Their father disappeared long ago and their mother has been ill for many years.

Nobody can measure the love, care and support provided to the girls by their elderly mother.

Geeta is taking online classes and preparing hard for the Secondary Education Examination and Arana’s final exam result have promoted her to Grade 9 with good marks.

Geeta is brilliant at debating, speech and essay competitions. Arana is an excellent performer and enjoys dancing, practicing Tae Kwon Do and playing soccer. Both sisters have great life skills and hope the pandemic situation ends soon so they can return to school and enjoy their extra-curricular activities.

Mum’s doll shop has not been operational since lockdown began in March that has added financial stress and made life very difficult.

Your donations are assisting this family survive at this time.


Remember Devi? Here’s an update!

You may have seen Devi’s return home story on television earlier this year.

Devi was trafficked into an orphanage far from her home and family. Her story was featured on ABCs Foreign Correspondent episode ‘Paper Orphans’ in March 2020.

Despite having loving parents, Devi landed in an orphanage in Kathmandu by the hands of her mother’s sister. She was only ten years old when her parents entrusted the aunt with their beloved Devi and Rs. 30,000 ($360 AUD) to secure a good education until grade 12 in Kathmandu.

All the promises and hopes for brighter days came to a standstill when Devi and other children like her were forced to sleep in the same room due to lack of bedding. Often with empty tummies. Devi told us the owner of the orphanage used to get drunk and spit vulgar words at the children. Once when her family visited the orphanage to check on her, Devi was forced to say everything was just fine – even though it really wasn’t.

In 2019, a new dawn rose in the life of Devi and seven other children when they were freed from that orphanage with the help of Forget Me Not and the Government of Nepal.

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. The video runs for around 30 minutes and is in English.

Today, Devi lives happily at home with her mother. She has resumed her studies in grade 3 with financial support from donors like you! Devi is performing well at school proving that she is blooming in her community with the loving care and support of her family.

Every dollar fundraised helps children like Devi rise and thrive.

We must remain vigilant and never hesitate to do better

Forget Me Not began as a children’s home for a handful of happy little girls we believed to be orphans in Kathmandu.

FMNs first Country Director was American-born, Nepali-speaking Eva Capozzola. In 2012 Eva was employed to keep a watchful eye and ensure the girls’ needs were being met and that they were receiving the very best care, excellent education and access to extra-curricular opportunities.

As the girls began to trust Eva, they spoke their truth and told Eva about their families.

Eva was FMNs first and only non-Nepali in-country employee. Our goal was to establish an International NGO and employ only Nepali people. The baton was proudly passed from Eva to FMNs current Country Director Anju Pun in 2014.

In this blog Eva reminds us how important it is to remain vigilant and never hesitate to do better, when we know better. 

“While I was Country Director for Forget Me Not in Nepal, we confronted egregious human rights violations in children’s homes and shifted the focus of our organisation to deinstitutionalisation and working to reunify and reintegrate children into their homes with their families. This work began with a group of 20 girls. Through all of our work, it was paramount that these young women knew that they had agency and that their voices would be heard.

I captured these portraits of the girls holding up adjectives they chose to describe themselves in 2013 as a small project called, “I AM.”


Image 1 of 7

Since then, these young women have been reunified with their families and have continued their education – some becoming social workers to help children like them. Forget Me Not’s work has grown and now there are over 200 children that have been reunited with their families throughout 24 districts of Nepal. These children are being monitored and supported by FMN’s team on the ground and by the team in Australia.

The work FMN and Dr Kate van Doore have contributed to the movement against modern day slavery is outstanding. They are giving children the ability to realise their most basic right – to be with their families and to have agency in their own lives.

It is difficult to get accurate and reliable information about the impact of COVID-19 on developing countries. Last week, Forget Me Not CEO Andrea Nave and FMN’s Global Leadership Team; Anju Pun (Nepal), Diptesh Singh (India), and Patrick Rhuweza (Uganda) had a conversation in which they shared the reality on the ground, the response, predicted priorities and plans for recovery.

 In Nepal, a national lockdown began in March. As it has continued, an increasing number of families are struggling with loss of income as they are largely daily wage earners in remote and rural areas. In response, Forget Me Not is focusing on delivering emergency food support through their “Feed Our Families” campaign. In March there were 50 families receiving food support and those numbers have risen to over 100 children and their family members, reaching 450 people.

If you are in a position to offer financial support to help these families, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help this effort.  

Thank you. ❤️🐘🙏🏽


RISE: COVID-19 response & recovery

Do not worry if you missed FMNs CEO Andrea Nave Monday night in conversation with Forget Me Not’s global leadership team: Anju Pun (Nepal); Diptesh Singh (India); and, Patrick Rhuweza (Uganda).

Watch the ‘live’ video of the event and learn the truth about the current situation on the ground. Find out how your donations are providing emergency relief to children and their families. Hear about our immediate response, predicted priorities and plans for recovery.

This video is just over 50 mins and in English.


Thank you mighty Herd with love from India

To date we have delivered emergency food packs to 140 families in Kalyanpuri and Rajghat. We have delivered:


RICE (kg)


FLOUR (kg)


TEA (kg)

Each pack has enough to feed a family of 5 for 10 days and contains:

  • 5kg rice
  • 2kg dal chane
  • 10kg flour
  • 1kg sugar
  • 500ml oil
  • 500g salt
  • 100g tea
  • soap & sanitary pads

Thank you for helping #feedourfamilies

There are at least another 160 families that need food supplies. Our team will not stop until everybody is fed.

What lockdown looks like in Nepal

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!




Families Fed

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!

Thank you mighty Herd for #feedingourfamilies

Checking in with families in Uganda during COVID-19 pandemic

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.


Patrick Rhuweza
21 April 2020

Checking in with families in Nepal

Our Reintegration Officers are our heroes!

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.

Opinion piece by Dr Kate van Doore

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.

A shock discovery changed everything

Five years later… READ MORE