Orphans dance for better future

Kathmandu, August 27:

Every month, a group of 17 children perform at 1905 Restaurant in Kantipath. But money is not what is driving them. These children, who have been living in the Hamro Niwas, an orphanage, want to make some money so that they can pursue higher studies and stand on their own. “I love dancing and, at the same time, I’m also earning money for my future,” says 10-year-old Prakash Kattel, who was enrolled at the orphanage some three years ago after his parents became victims of the ongoing conflict. A student of grade three in the Shivapuri High School, Kattel wants to stand on his own and pursue higher studies by making money from performing dances at the restaurant. “I know that our earnings will be deposited in our bank accounts. I can make use of the money after passing the SLC examinations.”

“The job is meant to make these children self-reliant,” Ful Maya Gurung, aama at the orphanage, says. Some 15 girls and 16 boys, aged between three and 16 years, are taking shelter at the orphanage. Most of the boarders are orphans, conflict victims, or children with single parents. Established some four years ago, the orphanage is being managed by the Stichting Veldwerk, a Dutch I-NGO, and the Centre for Child Studies and Development (CCSD) Nepal.

“We want our children to earn self-respect through such performances as they can say proudly that they have earned for themselves,” says Rene Veldt, the programme director at the Stichting Veldwerk. “We want to make sure that the higher studies of these children will not be hampered due to lack of money. The savings made today from their earnings will help them pursue higher studies.” Veldt says that besides the academic studies in school, such performance and mingling will be helpful in building self-confidence among the children.