Education the way forward for Nepal
Cute kids and sad stories about dead parents are common in Nepal but the reality is they are often part of a clever scam.
Many Kiwis support orphanages and charities claiming to help Nepalese kids.
Wellington women Linda Stopforth is involved with Youth Education and Initiative. YETI is linked to another charity, UMBRELLA, which deals with child trafficking and illegal orphanages.
Stopforth says Nepal is a complex country where child trafficking and corruption, are major problems.
YETI works with four youngsters and its philosophy is that Nepal needs educated young leaders who can take the country forward. Education, she says, is the best way to help Nepal.
A quick Google search produces long lists of Nepalese orphanages and schools looking for overseas sponsors.
Nepal has a sinister industry based around children.
Businessmen go to remote villages, telling parents they will take their children to Kathmandu and find westerners who will sponsor their education.
Parents receive a small payment and often never see their children again.
Tourists then pay to ‘‘volunteer’’ to help in the supposed orphanages.
Some children are trafficked to India to work in brothels, says Stopforth.
Stopforth says it is hugely frus- trating hearing New Zealanders returning from Nepal talking about how ‘‘cute’’ the orphans were. Not only are the kids are at risk of being abused by foreigners, it is unsettling for them seeing so many people come and go.
The orphanages usually claim the children lost parents due to AIDs or the long running civil war. Nepal actually has a very low rate of AIDs and the civil war cannot account for so many kids in the orphanages.
Unfortunately, Linda says, her message is one that people do not want to believe.
‘‘People don’t really want to hear that, all they want to do is sponsor a cute little kid.’’
Nepal has a large industry based around supposed orphanages which are often just a scam to get western sponsorship.