Nepal: Orphanage Support
Dididai and RMF Join Hands: August 1-December 31, 2016
December 31, 2016
Summary of Activities
Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO) is a nonprofit which was established to benefit children all over Nepal by promoting and protecting their rights as well as providing residential care to orphans and at-risk children. The organization has a nationwide presence and is providing shelter to about 500 children in its ten children’s homes. Bal Mandir (NCO’s building located in Naxal, Kathmandu) is the organization’s largest children’s home; before the 2015 earthquake, it housed up to 400 children at one time. Another of NCO’s children’s homes is located in Sifal, Kathmandu, about 2 km from Naxal. The Sifal NCO children’s home is very special because it houses children who are disabled. Through these types of homes, NCO has been able to provide much needed care through shelter, food, education, and health care for children. However, the situation changed dramatically after the massive earthquake that hit Nepal in April, 2015.
Bal Mandir was severely damaged during the earthquake, and a majority of the children had to be moved to different children’s homes in Kathmandu. Currently, Bal Mandir hosts only 72 children, all under the age of 5. Although the Sifal NCO children’s home did not sustain any damage, there is now a problem of congestion, as many of the children from Bal Mandir were shifted there. Due to this, the disabled children are confined to a limited area within the home to make way for the additional children.
Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) began supporting National Children’s Organization (NCO) in May 2015:
- Providing emergency food supplies
- Hiring 2 staff nurses
- Training house-mothers, other staff, and children on hygiene, nutrition, sanitation, and basic health
- Funding specialized medical treatment for NCO’s children when needed
- Supporting psychological health and awareness through a two-day workshop with American psychologist, Dr. Ron Palomares
- Looking into ways to provide continued psychosocial support to the children
- Supporting the construction of toilets, development of a sick room, and purchase of medicines
- Planning and support for construction of a badly needed additional building for NCO’s children
RMF continues to support two resident nurses, one in Bal Mandir and one in NCO Sifal, to provide health care and health education to the children and mamu living there.
Assisting and Resolving Challenges
With the objective to help disabled children in Sifal, Dididai project was initiated by a Spanish national, Pablo Menendez, and friends in 2009. In addition, Dididai is also providing an allowance to two of the mamu (resident caregivers), employed by NCO. Dididai and RMF will now be joining hands, specifically to support disabled children in NCO and help construct a permanent building in Naxal, which will become a home for the children of NCO.
Healing from Umbilical Hernia
Ganga Pode and her twin, Jamuna Pode, were mentioned in our previous report. The twins were prematurely born, malnourished, underweight, and both suffering from an umbilical hernia. Now, after proper care and nutrition provided by our nurses and the caregiver mothers, the twins are perfectly healthy and weigh 4 kg each. Their umbilical hernias are also slowly healing after a daily oil massage by the caregivers.
Healthy After Multiple Illnesses
Nir Chhetri is a 7-year-old boy living in NCO Sifal. He suffered from pneumonia, tuberculosis, and pleural effusion in the past. Our nurses have been taking special care of Nir, and now he is healthy and fit. Currently, he has a recurrent ear infection and complains about frequent pain in his ear. Our nurse is treating him regularly with ear drops.
Established in 1964, Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO), also known as Balmandir (The Children’s Temple) is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Nepal working for the protection and promotion of childrens’ rights and providing residential care to the children at risk. This includes orphans, differently-abled, abandoned and conflict affected children.
After the devastating earthquake on April 25th, followed by another strong earthquake on May 12th, an estimated 2,023 children have been confirmed dead. Likewise, the number of the injured children has been established at 876 and approximately, 200 children have lost their mothers and 112 have lost their fathers. Nearly 2 million children are said to have been affected by this mega quake and the powerful aftershocks thereafter. (Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, June 2015)
Among those children who lost their parents, many have come under the tutelage of NCO, whose own shelter home was heavily destroyed by the disaster. Currently, through their 10 children’s homes within and outside Kathmandu valley, NCO has been caring for 280 children, including the earthquake-affected.
RMF will be supporting NCO in improving orphanage-based children’s health by providing better quality primary health care, including nutrition, sanitation and hygiene.
- Provide psychosocial counseling to deeply affected children
- Construct a room for infants
- Health and sanitation trainings for house mothers and children
- Construct a room for differently-abled children
- Provide better quality primary healthcare
- Provide qualified staff nurses at NCO’s centers
- Enhance knowledge and awareness of health and nutrition
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Assisting and Resolving Challenges
With the objective to help disabled children in Sifal, Dididai project was initiated by a Spanish national, Pablo Menendez, and friends in 2009. Dididai supports disabled children in Sifal and has hired five people with different areas of expertise to care for the children. In addition, Dididai is also providing an allowance to two of the mamu (resident caregivers), employed by NCO. Dididai and RMF will now be joining hands, specifically to support disabled children in NCO and help construct a permanent building in Naxal, which will become a home for the children of NCO.
Since Dididai is not a registered organization in Nepal, they are experiencing difficulties, especially with administrative functionality, such as contract of hired staff, remuneration, and legal recognition. RMF plans to incorporate the staff hired by Dididai into RMF Nepal’s team. RMF Nepal will help Dididai streamline the funds that they contribute to NCO Sifal by providing them with a legal recognition in Nepal through RMF Nepal.
On December 26, 2016, two of RMF Nepal’s team members, Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha and M&E Manager Gaurav Pradhan, visited NCO Sifal to meet the team hired by Dididai and to better understand their current situation. It was immediately understood that the staff hired by Dididai had no employment contracts, as Dididai has no legal recognition in Nepal. Dididai had managed to provide remuneration to these staff members through a local NGO, SGCP (Self-help Group for Cerebral Palsy). However, this agreement ended with the expiration of the contract with SGCP; Dididai had not been able to pay the salaries of its staff at NCO Sifal for the last four months due to the expiration of this contract. We also found that although they had not been paid for several months, the Dididai workers were continually and untiringly providing their services to the disabled children of NCO. They did, however, express concern over not being paid on time and wanted the current situation resolved as soon as possible. RMF Nepal now plans to incorporate the staff hired by Dididai into our team and payroll and offer them employment contracts so that their services at NCO Sifal can be sustained.
Participants in the meeting with RMF Program Manager and RMF M&E Manager:
- NCO Sifal Supervisor Mr. Dan Bahadur
- NCO Assistant Officer Ms. Sabita
- Dididai Quality of Life Coordinator Kalpana Bohara
- Dididai Teaching Assistant Sabina Kattel
- Dididai Teaching Assistant Asha Chhetri
- Dididai Mamu (resident caregiver) Durga Mahatra
- Dididai Physiotheraphist Mr. Nima Lama
- RMF Nurse Ms. Pushpa Khadka (resident nurse in NCO Sisal)
During the meeting, RMF’s Program Manager and M&E Manager explained the developments between Dididai and RMF and briefed participants on RMF policies and values, which all RMF employees must adhere to. It was good to know that the Dididai staff was already familiar with how RMF functions, as they are in constant contact with our resident nurse in NCO Sifal, Ms. Pushpa Khadka.
After we successfully integrate the Dididai project into RMF Nepal, we will be the biggest contributor supporting NCO in their mission to promote and protect the rights of disabled children in Nepal. Dididai is also in the process of constructing a school for the disabled children at NCO Naxal, for which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has already been signed with NCO concerning the land where the school is to be constructed. RMF now plans to join hands with Dididai for the construction of a new children’s home alongside the school for disabled children on the land which NCO has already granted.
Construction of New Children’s Home in Naxal
Providing a Safe, Spacious, and Hygienic Home
RMF plans to construct a new children’s home in Naxal to accommodate the children that NCO has been taking care of. NCO’s main building, Bal Mandir, was severely damaged by the earthquake, and many of the children had to be shifted to other children homes in Kathmandu. This resulted in NCO children’s homes becoming overcrowded and unhygienic. These effects can be seen most notably in NCO Naxal, where up to 72 children (including infants) are residing in a temporary shelter, and at NCO Sifal, where disabled children reside.
NCO Sifal was established to provide care exclusively for disabled children; however, after the earthquake in April 2015, children from NCO Naxal had to be shifted to this home. The room that was previously used for the disabled children’s recreational activities has been converted into a dormitory for the children shifted from Naxal. With these additional children living in Sifal, NCO has not been able to provide the same level of care and nurture to the disabled children as they did before. The number of recreational activities is now limited, and physical exercise routines have been affected because the new physical exercise room is extremely cold, with no direct sunlight, which made many of the disabled children sick. The room where the disabled children sleep is also very crowded, and there is no space to accommodate any additional disabled children. Therefore, a new residential building is needed at NCO to maintain proper care and a hygienic environment for the children.
Plans are underway for Dididai to construct a school for the disabled children at Naxal, and RMF plans to construct a children’s home on the same land. With construction of the new children’s home, RMF aims to provide the children of NCO with a living environment that is spacious, safe, and hygienic, where they can be well cared for.
Provision of NCO Children’s Health Care
Adding New Residential Nurse
RMF provides NCO with two residential nurses, Ms. Pushpa Khadka and Ms. Sanskriti Shrestha, in NCO Sifal and NCO Naxal respectively. These registered nurses look after the children’s health 24/7, including medical needs and medical emergencies.
- NCO Sifal, served by RMF Nurse Pushpa Khadka, is the residence of disabled children and the additional children transferred from NCO Naxal after the earthquake.
- NCO Naxal, served by RMF Nurse Sanskriti Shrestha, houses the largest number of NCO’s children in Nepal.
Due to the large number of children requiring care, RMF is planning to provide an additional residential nurse in NCO Naxal. RMF is interviewing candidates, and a suitable candidate will be selected and introduced to the NCO authorities. The candidate will be hired only after consent from the concerned NCO authorities. In the meantime, RMF’s nurses have been working around the clock to handle the medical needs and emergencies of the children in NCO Sifal and Naxal.