In a developing country where the justice system seems to be built to serve the rich, where political leaders often motivated by power and wealth, what happens to those that are unjustly put into prison? And perhaps even more crucially, what happens to the CHILDREN of those prisoners?
"Each child has the right to find their own light, like a firefly in the night" - Indira Ranamagar, founder of PA Nepal
PA Nepal is an NGO seeking to provide basic needs and human rights to prisoners and their children; one of the most vulnerable groups in Nepal. Within Nepal, the state has no legal obligation to support the children of prisoners. As such, one of PA Nepal’s most important projects is for the complete care of numerous children whose parents have been imprisoned. Without this support, many of these children would be forced to either reside in prison with their parents or on the streets where they are vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation.
Currently, there are 103 children ranging from the age of 3 to 18, living at their biggest Children's Home in Nepal. Here, they build their own 'family', eating, sleeping, studying, and caring for one another. This summer, I spent over two weeks living with these children, listening to their life stories and experiencing their way of living.
Here, I was very impressed by the level of self-sufficiency the children had developed for themselves. I would find children, aged three, washing their own bed sheets in the cold morning air because they had 'wet their bed'. The older ones took care of the younger children, with all the love and attention they could provide; and so did all the staff of PA Nepal.
I made use of my time there to conduct hand-washing classes with the children, teaching them the basic proper way to wash hands, and also the "why's" behind hand-washing. I further introduced a soap-net system, widely used in Japanese schools, which prevents the soap from slipping away into the sink or melting in a puddle of water (which was a constant problem the house mothers complained about with the few soaps they did have).
Yet, in the end, there was also one issue that could not be solved within Nepal; so many children also meant that much money is required for proper care. Yet, in Nepal, there are stringent restrictions set by the government on local citizens about the bank accounts they can have, making it impossible for them to fund-raise overseas.
With this reality in mind, I left Nepal this summer with the promise that I would make myself personally responsible for finding a way for the children to always have soap to wash their hands.
Thus, this Campaign aims to raise money for these children, specifically focused on antibacterial hand-washing soap, which is currently a rare commodity in the children’s home in Sankhu, Nepal, but should be a basic right.
Please help me keep my promise, and support these bright children find "their own light" in this world!