Law comes in way of affection

Kathmandu, November 25:

“Ke, Garne?” It’s a question that Sioux Tolbert, the country director of Talbot Centre for Street Children in Nepal, is asking constantly these days.

With Christmas round the corner, Sioux wants to take a three-year-old Mingmar, a Sherpa boy with whom she has developed a strong attachment, to the UK.

“He’s constantly following me around, saying ‘I love you mummy.” Two months will be like a lifetime for a three-year-old,” she says.

“The Nepal government has entrusted me with the upkeep of 38 children, but they are not trusting me to take him to the UK for two months,” she laments.

The story of attachment began in August 2006, when Sioux was asked to adopt a four-year-old child whose father had been killed by the Maoists, and whose mother had died when he was 10 months old. It turned out that he was just two, and cried for two weeks when she brought him home.

Sioux at once developed attachment with the baby, and began to treat him as her own son. Then, in March last year, she received a phone call saying Mingmar’s mother was alive, and wanted to visit the centre.

“They gave no explanation for the lies I had been told,” Sioux says. Mingmar’s mother, however, agreed to let Mingmar stay with Sioux until he finishes education.

In June 2006, the Child Welfare Board of the government asked Talbot to rescue 24 children from Thankot.

The children had been trafficked to Kathmandu from Humla.

Asked about the reason for government’s refusal to let her take the child to the UK, joint-secretary at the Women, Children and Social Welfare Ministry Prakash Adhikari said that nobody, except parents, can take any child to a foreign country according to the country’s law.