Friday, 16 October 2015

2015 visit- KIKN Open Day

The time is fast approaching  when  I  will  be  saying goodbye to Uma and all the children. KIKN will hold our annual Open day this afternoon. It is our hope that as many parents  as possible  will come with their children. This is the only time when Uma and I  actually  meet most of the mums, and give them all a parcel of winter jacket, tracksuits,  underwear ,socks etc.. We then enjoy a good feast , something we all look forward to each year.

This trip has been fruitful, but challenging at times. Maybe the aging process  makes one more emotional  rather than pragmatic, an approach which has served me well over the  years. It is certainly  harder to stay  pragmatic  these days when one is faced with so much sorrow  and loss. I just feel grateful for what we have and enjoy in the west.

KIKN has achieved much, but so much more can be done ,resources  permitting.  As expected, I have received shopping lists from the schools, albeit not a long one for a change! The lists  of needs and wants will form the basis for discussion  and will guide the trustees to formulate  a project plan for 2016.

KIKN has been fortunate to have attracted several funding streams successfully since the earthquake.  These has helped us to provide more help to families than we originally planned. Onwards and Upwards for KIKN !

The Open Day

Uma and I prepared clothes parcels for 33 children plus 5 young ladies who are in year 12 (Upper 6)and university education. .The turn out was almost complete. It was my 8th year, therefore most of the mums know me well. They know we try to help  their children to  go on to have  better lives through education, and they are grateful. However some are unable to look beyond the urgent need  of putting the next meals at the table. I empathised with that. Uma and I do accept that we cannot win them all, but to support where we can until such time when they finish their secondary education

 Uma said some of the mums  have been asking when will KIKN  start the sponsorship program again. It would appear that they have been asking  since last year's Open Day , and again today. It is something that I will take back to the trustees for discussion. KIKN just about manage the 38 children now. It will largely dependent on Uma and myself in how we see ourselves  managing the sponsoring process with  additional children.

As part of Child protection procedure, I am duty bound to read all the letters the children have written to their sponsors and vice versa. Many of them wanted to say thank you for the £100 KIKN have given them following the earthquake- a very wise counsel from Uma at the time  even though it went against the grain. KIKN has never handed cash to individual families until then. It was always in kind, purchased by Uma. It was heartening to read many of the letters repeating the same theme .Our decision was the right one at the time, thanks to Uma who has  bags of insight and common sense, as always.

I came across some heart breaking pleas in some of the letters. They all come from the true orphans at the Parapokar Orphanage where KIKN started the sponsorship program last year , beginning with 5 girls and a boy. In their letters to their sponsors, they are asking their sponsors if they can be their parents/grandparents substitute? They even drew  pictures of a  father and a mother with them as the daughter in the middle. I need to think how to handle letters like that before I forward them to their sponsors. Sponsors do what they do  out of generosity and a desire to help. It may be off putting for some to receive letters like that , totally unexpected and alien scenario to find themselves in.

This is the first time I have come across this type of requests from our sponsored children .The general theme  tended to be asking the sponsors to come to Nepal to visit them espousing the beauty of Nepal, and to meet them at long last. May be I am reading too much into these. Maybe they are just muses of teenage fantasies, and nothing more than that.... or could they have been put up by the staff in the Orphanage ? Or could it merely reflects the desperate desire of these poor children to have an identity, some thing/ some one they can call their own?  Is KIKN up to the job of fulfilling that angle if that is the case ? I  really don't know.....I need to think...........

Reflecting on the challenges  of working in Nepal........ There is  always something new and unexpected that I can learn from; there are some things that I have to accept regardless of how I feel about them (against my values), but  most of all, respect the decision they have made for themselves no matter what. The one thing I have learnt from working with them is that they are immensely resilient and are survivors . And I have huge respect  for the unsung heroes in all  the mums and dads I have come across over the years.

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