The trend of setting up orphanages and the lucrative ‘shelter business’ is catching increased pace in Kathmandu and elsewhere. People are supposed to open orphanages with ideally a service intent but it has become a difficult ball game as their number gets bigger and bigger. Concrete measures are called for to separate the real orphanages from the shady ones. In this context, Mukti Nepal — an orphanage — finds itself in soup for forging the surname of a girl child whose education has been sponsored by a Germany-based philanthropic body. Following a government probe, the operator of Mukti Nepal is supposed to have handed the child over to her father but she was still untraceable till the time of this writing.
This case is only the tip of the iceberg. Out of the 615 shelter homes registered with the District Administration Office, Kathmandu, more than 100 lack minimum facilities because no one bothers to monitor their activities, let alone take action for frauds. In the remote Humla and Jumla districts numerous cases are there where parents have been persuaded to let ‘do-gooder orphanages’ take their children away, ostensibly for a better future. But once gone, they tend to disappear forever. Even if the parents know the takers concerned, they cannot be tracked down. This is one area that requires immediate attention of all. This also necessitates enactment of relevant laws governing the conduct of the so-called custodians of children. Child rights would look meaningless if child traders are permitted to thrive with impunity.