Spanish woman on indefinite hunger strike

Kathmandu, September 9:

Vicki Subirana, a Spanish citizen and founder of Vicki Educational and Development Foundation Nepal (VEDFON), is on an indefinite hunger strike for the past five days, demanding the authorities concerned to initiate investigation into the members of the VEDFON board.

Subirana, who has been living in Nepal for the past 18 years, accused Sita Ram Upreti, principal and chairman of the board and other members of the board of financial irregularities and exploitation of children in the schools run by the foundation. It runs Dalekhi Pre-primary School and Nepal Catalunya School.

“The foundation, which has been providing free education to nearly 500 Dalit students and poor children annually, is now facing financial and other problems due to the irregularities in the foundation,” said Subirana.

According to her, Sabita Timilsina — a physically challenged orphan girl studying in Grade VIII at Nepal Catalunya School — committed suicide in April in mysterious circumstances. “I repeat

edly requested the board members to clarify the cause of her suicide, but to no avail.”

Subirana appealed to the government to initiate investigation into the financial irregularities and suicide case and to dissolve the board of the foundation. She said she had also approached different authorities in Nepal and Spain over the issue.

Upreti, however, denied the allegations. “Subirana has misused foundation’s funds and wants to have monopoly in the foundation,” he counter-alleged.