Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pooja and Kiran

In the last month, two more children have arrived at Sam's House.

Pooja came via the United Nations Human Rights Commission from the Terai region in southern Nepal. She lived in a village that for a time was a Maoist stronghold; they occupied the city. Pooja's father cooked for the Maoists, or more likely, was forced to. When the Maoists left the village after the ceasefire, some villagers labeled her father a sympathizer and murdered him. The UNHRC feared for Pooja and her siblings so they helped relocate them to children's homes in Pokhara.

Pooja's case also illustrates the kind of challenges that Dinesh faces from time to time. The UNHRC called him and said they were bringing Pooja and her siblings. Dinesh told their representative that we only had room for one child, which was true, and because he thought they wouldn't want to separate the siblings. The rep replied that they would bring Pooja only tomorrow. Dinesh asked them to wait because he wanted to consult with his board about the admissions process in accordance with the by-laws. The UNHRC showed up the next day with Pooja. Dinesh couldn't say no.


And that's something that's difficult to explain. Of course on humanitarian level we wouldn't say no to any child. But right now we're at capacity in our home and we hadn't planned to be until next year. And while we like to abide our rules and regulations for admitting children (orphans, 2-to-1 girls/boys, etc.) sometimes Dinesh is put in politically sensitive positions that require his cooperation. Good ole' Dineshji.

Being from the Terai, Pooja did not speak Nepali as her primary language, instead using a dialect indigenous to her village. For the first few days at Sam's House she was pretty spooked. But lately she's been coming out of her shell as her new sisters play with her and make her feel welcome. She also had not been to school, so she'll take an aptitude test to make sure she gets placed in the proper grade at Gorkha English Boarding School.


Two years ago, Kiran was a street child in Pokhara with no known parents. Local police placed her in a children's home that has recently run out of funding. So this group has been reaching out to other homes to place their children. Dinesh used our final spot for Kiran (there is a 20th spot but it's already been promised to Sandeep Pariyar, who will arrive shortly). Kiran is now four years old and she will likely attend nursery school at GEBS.


So now we're at capacity at Sam's House--20 lovely children. Everyone going to school, eating warm meals, wearing clean clothes and playing with toys. There's more we can do and more we will do but I guess it's time to start thinking about finding land, or at least a new place to rent.

Please go to the official website when you have time. We've added short bios of the children.


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