Richa Adhikari

Richa Adhikari (BASE, Nepal): Born and raised in Nepal during a period of political instability, Richa was studying for a BA at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, when she took on the AP fellowship with BASE in Nepal. After her fellowship, Richa wrote: “I have learnt to deal with a wide range of people and personalities. I learnt to live with minimal luxuries. I learnt that it is difficult to work in a developing country, not only because of the unresponsiveness but because of the organizational. It takes a lot of effort to get things done, and persistence is the key to survive and thrive at BASE.” radhikari@advocacynet.org



Flash flood and a visit to the Children’s Peace Hostel

08 Jul

Flood has made commute difficult

The heavy rain washes the ants that line the doorway of the house. The fields look lush green and the children struggle to cross the flooded road to reach the bus stops. The shores of river are lined with fishermen. Mothers give the umbrellas to their children and get soaked themselves. When we look over the bridge to the muddy currents that flow below, aunty tells me the story of an attempted suicide in the river. When the woman failed in her attempt, her parents gifted a motorcycle to their son in-law so that he would keep her happy. We buy a kilogram of sardines for Rs. 580 and watch the pigs turn pink from brown as the rain washes the dirt from their bodies.

Although the rain has made commute difficult, it has brought a sense of serenity in Tulsipur. The temperature has dropped and the rice fields look picturesque. The hallways in the office are muddy and wet, and surprisingly, no one has turned on the ceiling fans today. I tiptoe my way to my cubicle (after a series of Namaste exchanges, of course!). And thus, my day begins!

Children's Peace Home, main building

Last weekend, Lisha (an intern at BASE) and I visited the Children’s Peace Home hostel, a rescue and rehabilitation hostel for children affected by civil and domestic conflicts and bonded labor. Mr. Bhola Nath Yogi, the founder of the Peace Home has rescued thirty-five children (19 boys and 16 girls), and provides food, shelter, education, and a peaceful and healthy environment for the children to thrive. He runs the hostel through personal savings and some support from his family members. The land is given to him by his mother.

Meeting Mr. Yogi and spending a day with the children was one of the most humbling experiences that I have had in my life. This is a person who has devoted most of his time and resources to the hostel and is passionate about bettering the children’s lives. In midst of the conversation, Yogi recalled an incident where a girl from the hostel attempted to elope with a man:

“I was adamant about educating her. I told her that if she did not want to study, she would have to pay the tuition fee. I was not going to lose a child to a life of servitude and grief”

Anju Budhathoki-Children's Peace Home

In another conversation with Anju Budhathoki, one of the 16 rescued girls, we came to know that her father had been murdered and her mother died of cancer. Unable to control herself, Anju began to cry. Anju is a ten year old who has seen more adversity
in life than most of us can even begin to imagine. Unsure of how to console her, I sat next to her and held her while she sobbed some more. The pocket on her blouse had come off. I asked her if she needed a new school uniform. She managed to blurt “no” in her muffled voice, but her eyes told me otherwise.

Heartbroken and determined to help the children in the best possible way, we decided to conduct a clothing donation program for the Children’s Peace Home through BASE. Hopefully we will collect enough clothing for the children by the end of the summer.

Please follow my upcoming blog for the individual profiles of the children at Peace Home, and keep commenting!

Posted By Richa Adhikari

Posted Jul 8th, 2014

1 Comment

  • Sugam Singh

    July 8, 2014

     

    Hey Richa, great post! I am sure I do not need to tell you, but be careful of the rivers if you plan to go beyond Tulsipur; those rivers are plenty and can be very dangerous. On the topic of creating safe homes for disadvantaged children and ex-child laborers, I think we need to seek ways in which we can maximize active government participation in not only setting up such an infrastructure, but in creating a long lasting partnership to ensure a stable environment for children to prosper. I do not think we have enough Bhola Nath Yogis in Nepal to attend to the growing problem of child labor in Nepal, and even if we do the resources that needs to be conjured amount to a lot. Similarly, I believe if BASE, SWAN and Concern were to spearhead an initiative to create an infrastructure that would not only cater to short term child care necessary for reuniting children with families, but in extreme cases provide a residence for a much longer stay, we need to involve appropriate government agencies (not just cursorily) from the beginning and create a strong stake of the government to ensure the durability and efficiency of the structure to be created. I was wondering if you had any discussion with Mr. Yogi in how we could involve the government in such an endeavor, or if he had any suggestions from his own experience so far?

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