Ed­u­ca­tion the way for­ward for Nepal

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - NI­CHOLAS BOYACK

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.

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