At the end of April 2015, Nepal was ravaged by several heavy earthquakes. Together with the local aid organisation Homenet Nepal, Hope is life helped the victims of this catastrophe in the field. Apart from the processing of the traumatic experiences, families were provided with the necessary materials and temporary housings. During our work in the field, our team was asked by the organisation Homenet to visit the remote village Ghole Tole. This village had been waiting for the support of an aid organisation for a long time. What we found there is hard to put into words: About 80% of the villagers are addicted to alcohol. The children have formed small gangs and are left to themselves most of the time. At home, many children do not get food and have to provide for themselves. The boys often start consuming alcohol at the age of 10, the girls a little later. This world seemed abandoned from the rest of the world and remembered us of a forgotten village.
We knew very soon that we could not look away and wanted to approach the problems in this village. After some discussing and balancing of possibilities, Hope is life decided to start a project in this mountain village.
Since the children are the ones who suffer most because of this situation, we dedicated ourselves to them first in order to approach the parents afterwards. The Thomas Kids Care centre for children provides room for 80 girls and boys and is now part to their daily lives. Here, they can just be children for a few hours, without being exposed to the strains of their daily lives. Many of the ones we support are victims of violence, physical and emotional neglect and sometimes hunger. Our Hope is life team takes care of the children with patience and understanding. Thomas Kids Care is a place where they can experience comfort and safety.
The daily life in the centre is structured according to the needs of the children. Apart from helping them with school work, we also inform them about the cultivation of our garden, basic hygiene rules, nutrition and many more things. In addition, they learn how to play, which is quite challenging for some of them.
We work with the parents of the children in group meetings that allow exchange and sensitisation regarding the current situation. Like this, we can show the parents what goes wrong in the lives of their children. Furthermore, we address the addiction behaviour of the villagers and look for strategies that will increase the quality of living for everyone involved
1. A safe place for the children – Kids Centre
After school, the children are looked after by local workers in the centre. In the case of children that do not go to school, we look for the cause and then for strategies so that they can start again. At Thomas Kids Care, we support the children with homework, motivate them to play and give them the possibility to talk about the problems at home and at school. Like this, the children have structured daily lives and people to relate to outside their families. This gives them a feeling of safety and confidence that helps them get over the physical and emotional neglect. In this way, children can be protected from their parents‘ addiction to some extent and are motivated to lead a life without alcohol.
2. Balanced nutrition for the little ones
In the evening, the children receive a nourishing meal that strengthens them physically so that they are able to master their challenging daily lives.
3. Prevent addiction and help find a way out of the addiction
The parents are informed about the consequences of their addiction. In group or one-on-one meetings, the villagers are motivated to take better care of their children and fight against alcohol.
This project goal is probably the hardest to achieve. But we are convinced that we can accompany at least a part of the parents on the way out of their addiction.