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Feature: Street Children, Big Problem in Nepal

Xinhuanet 2002-02-26 19:53:30

””””KATHMANDU, February 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Ram Bahadur Tamang, a 12-year-old boy from Dhading district, more than 100 kilometers west of Kathmandu, has been living in Kathmandu city's street for almost three years after his parents died four years ago.

””””To survive, he has to beg from others or work as a porter for those who are living in Kathmandu city.

””””"After my parents died and my elder brother refused to take care of me, I had to leave my hometown and find a way for living,"Tamang said, adding that he wouldn't like to return home because it is very poor there.

””””"I can beg about 30 to 40 Nepalese Rupees (about 4 to 5 U.S. cents) a day that is enough for me to support myself," Tamang said. ””””

””””Compare with Tamang, Hari Basnet, another 10-year-old boy has no such a good luck. As he can not beg so much money as Tamang did,he can not support himself by begging. Basnet left his home for Kathmandu two years ago because of his family's conflicts. After his mother died, his father married another woman and the boy was neglected by them.

””””"My father and step mother did not take care of me and every day they were quarreling with each other. What was worse, we always had nothing to eat. That's why I left my home for Kathmanduto find another way for living. However, I could not support myself by begging since I came here," Basnet said, adding that some times he has to do some other work with the help of his friends.

””””Tamang and Basnet are the only two of the more than 1,000 boys and girls who have been living in the streets in Kathmandu city and there are hundreds of thousands of such children living in various cities across the country.

””””It is estimated that there are more than 4,000 children in someother major cities' streets of Nepal, according to statistics by the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center (CWIN), an non-governmental organization working in the field of child welfare.

””””According to the Center, most of the children living in the streets right now left their homes at the age of eight because of various problems happened in their families. These problems mainlycaused by step mother, family conflicts, poverty, lack of awareness, orphanage and some of them wanted in search of better opportunities in the big cities.

””””Most of those children living in the streets depend on begging from others, working as porters and construction workers in the construction sites inside of the cities and in the neighboring villages of the cities.

””””In addition to begging and working, some times they also do stealing, robbing, and smoking. Their activities have already created big problems for the Nepali society.

””””In order to deal with the child problem, the Nepali government has made a very strong legal provision on the child labor, so thatthe children who under the age of 16 can not be employed by any factory.

””””Some governmental and non-governmental organizations have also taken some effective measures to solve the problem. The organizations repatriated some of the street children to their homes and forced their parents to take care of their children. They also supplied food, clothes and shelters to the children who has no home to return and the orphanages in the other.

””””"Although it is quite difficult to collect the street children, we will try our very best to bring them together and to provide some food, lodgments and something else to them in an attempt to help them living a better life," said Rita Singh Baidhya, president of the Children's' Organization, a governmental organization working for the welfare of children.

””””The Children's Organization is planning to provide free education and shelter to the orphan children, Baidhya said, addingthat we also ordered all the local authorities to give priority tothe children from the poor families, specially the orphans and thechildren came back from the prisons.

””””"I believe that the street children problem will be solved soonso long as both the government and social communities pay attention seriously to the problem," she noted. Enditem

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