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Raids on orphanages: At children’s homes, all is not well

- ROSHAN SEDHAI, KATHMANDU
Raids on orphanages: At children’s homes, all is not well

Feb 28, 2014-

Upon perception that children’s homes are being used by their operators for unfair motives such as monetary gain, authorities have stepped up efforts to crack down on them.

On January 14, the Central Investigation Bureau arrested Happy Home operator Bishwo Prasad Acharya after tip-offs that it was operating without permission from the regulator.

Police found that seven of the total 85 children were missing from the orphanage. The Metropolitan Police Range Lalitpur has lodged a case of child trafficking against Acharya and his organisation.

On Wednesday, the Kathmandu District Administration Office led a raid of Aama Ghar, a shelter home for destitute senior citizens and children. Owned and operated by renowned social worker Dilsobha Shrestha, the shelter was operating without registration and was rated substandard. Rescuers found 19 of the 53 registered children missing from Aama Ghar. While Shrestha has admitted to employing children in domestic work, she was ignorant about the whereabouts of seven children. Chief District Officer Basanta Raj Gautam said both his office and the police are looking into the case.

The problem of unregulated shelters is not confined to Kathmandu. Eighteen children were rescued from the Kavre-based Garib Sudhar Manch two months ago. Stakeholders say the organisation had procured fake identities for non-orphan children, depriving them of their basic rights amid shady financial transactions. Namuna Bhusal of the Central Children Welfare Board said many people are using orphanages as a tool to make money. "Most children's homes are operating illegally and even those legally registered are keeping fake orphans to lure foreign donors," she told the Post. Bhusal said it is hard to establish the true identity of children as organisations make false certificates at the local level to prove that the children are orphans.

The Board has scrapped the licenses of 20 children's homes across the country in the last four years. The office said the problem of child abuse and exploitation is particularly appalling in children's homes within the Kathmandu valley, Chitwan and Kaski. The increasing tendency to use children's homes as temporary platforms for monetary gain becomes clear from the fact that a large number of children's homes voluntarily close while many new ones emerge every year.

Though exact data are hard to come by, according to the Central Children Welfare Council under the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, some 800 children's homes are currently in operation across Nepal.

According to the ministry, there were 610 children's homes operating in 2012. Under the current provision, the children's homes must be registered at the DAO of the operating

district.

 

 

 

Published: 28-02-2014 08:22

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