- What We Do
- Little Princes
The UN convention on the right of the child states the best place for a child and the psychosocial development is with their family or in their community of origin. Umbrella support this stance and works towards re-integrating as many of our children as responsibly possible. We have successfully reintegrated over 130 children to date and we continue to support them through education and livings allowances and we regularly monitor their progress through our dedicated field team.
The children came under the care of Umbrella after being rescued from substandard homes in the Kathmandu valley. However, it is by looking at how the children ended up in these homes to begin with, that we begin to understand the challenges and obstacles to reunification in Nepal.
|Jalman (middle) at home with his brother and father||Two Umbrella girls, Kanti and Kalpana back in thier home village|
The majority of Umbrella children come from rural backgrounds. The ten-year civil war left many children orphaned and left more families' in impoverished conditions when their livelihoods were lost. Families had no choice but to send their children to urban Nepal. Parents in isolated rural villages were easy prey for child traffickers who promised them that their children would have a better life in a nice home in the city and get a good education in a private school but in reality children are dumped in abusive homes.
Many children were also forced out of their villages out of fear of the fighting or of forced conscription during the civil war and so fled to Kathmandu, ending up in these corrupt homes.
Even now parents are easy prey as they desperately want their children to have the opportunities that they never had and the only way they see this happening is by going to Kathmandu and getting an education.
It was or all these reasons that Umbrella began to work closely with the Child Welfare Board to rescue these children. Umbrella now works closely with another INOG, Next Generation Nepal (NGN) to re-connect our children with their families and re-integrate back to their families and communities. Umbrella's reunification officer and the NGN team travel the country searching villages for the children's families, taking photos and letters from the children.
As the majority of the homes that the children were rescues from cared little about the children's well being, they kept to no official records of the child's background. The Umbrella staff tries to salvage as much information as possible from the children and from what ever records they can find.
When contact is made with the families Umbrella staff explain the importance of the family unit and try to explain to them how the child is better off at home than in a children's home.
There are many challenges facing reunification. The challenge of convincing the family that they child is better within the family unit is hard to tackle when the family only recognizes that their child is receiving a good education and is being well cared for by Umbrella.
Umbrella must also asses the family situation and ensure that they are financially capable of taking over care of their child. When reintegration is in the best interest of the child, but there are financial constraints, Umbrella offer assistance by paying all school bills including uniform and stationary.
Other challenges facing reunification is the need for constant monitoring. It would be irresponsible of Umbrella to reunify children with their families and then cut all contact. It is a sad fact that many of the families were involved in the trafficking of the child in the first place therefore creating a risk of re-trafficking. Therefore, after every re-integration there are continuous and periodic follow up visits by our re-integration team to monitor the children's progress and the success of the re-integration is assessed regularly.
While Umbrella makes every effort to ensure a successful reunification, there are some sad cases. Two girls were reunited with their parents in what seemed like a truly successful case. Two weeks later, Umbrella's reunification officer was conducting the routine follow up visit and discovered that the two girls were working in brick factories where they worked long, dangerous days for small amounts of money. These two girls were re rescued and are safely back in the care of Umbrella.
Umbrella's reintegration team works tirelessly to re-connect our children back with their families and return them to their communities. This is done on a case by case basis and Umbrella continue to support these children after they have been re-integrated through educational support and monitoring visits so that they can grow up among their family where they belong and have the best possible future.
|Sunita, back with her mother and grandmother in thier home village|