60 children face ouster from Bal Mandhir

Kathmandu, November 27:

Nepal Child Organisation (NCO), one of the oldest and biggest orphanages in the country, is adopting a new policy of discouraging protection and shelter for the children with close relatives and parents. Despite the NCO’s policy of providing shelter, education and

opportunities only to the abandoned and orphaned children, 60 out of 310 children at the NCO do not meet the criteria, NCO administration said. “During the period of Dashain and Tihar, we closely observed the visitors and sponsors coming to meet the children here and discovered that 60 children under our care either have families or relatives to take care of them,” deputy director at NCO Bal Krishna Dangol, said.

He added that 15 NCO branches in different parts of the country were providing shelter to 500 children. Of these, 15 per cent of the children did not meet the criteria to stay at the NCO, he said. These children meet the criteria only on paper, Dongol said, but in practice, many of these children are regularly visited by their parents. Since the NCO was dependent on sponsors and donations, and had a limited budget, the NCO wanted to make sure it was investing on destitute and orphans rather than the ones who have relatives to look after them, he added.

“We believe the opportunities the NCO provides: our studies, vocational training and other facilities, encourage the parents to send their children here,” he said. Dangol said that while adopting the new policy, the NCO would not deprive the children from the facilities they were enjoying at present. Hence these outgoing children would be taken care of through a scholarship programme, he said. The NCO will provide Rs 100 per month and Rs 3,000 per year to buy educational material for these children, and to help them get admitted in different schools.

“We hope the adoption of this policy will clearly send the message that the NCO is committed to the welfare of the orphaned and abandoned children,” Dangol said. As per the NCO directives, an orphan child can be admitted to the NCO on the recommendation of the local government. The child should be below the age of six, whose father is dead and the mother married to another man, or a child under six whose father is dead and mother mentally ill; to qualify as abandoned, the police must recommend a child as ‘abandoned’ in a hospital after delivery or treatment, or in a public place.