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Abandoned and alone

Monday, February 29th, 2016
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11-year old Manju preparing a meal for her siblings. Pic: Laxmi Bhandari

11-year old Manju preparing a meal for her siblings. Pic: Laxmi Bhandari

From the Nepali Press

Laxmi Bhandari in Himal Khabarpatrika, 28 February-5 March

When she heard the school bell ring, 11-year-old head of household Manju told her brother and sister: “Go to school now. I will ask around in the village and bring your lunch in the afternoon.”

Though she was hungry, Manju’s 9-year-old sister Samjhana got ready anyway. But her younger brother Arjun, 6, refused to go to school on an empty stomach. After trying to convince him several times, Manju couldn’t help but break down crying.

After their parents abandoned them last September, Manju and her siblings have spent entire days without food on many occasions.

Originally from Birendrnagar – 20 Bangesimali, their father eloped with another woman one and a half years ago, and then last September, their mother ran away with another man, leaving her children to fend for themselves.

“When I came home from school that day she wasn’t here,” says Manju sobbing. “I thought she went to work but she hasn’t come back ever since.”

With the responsibility of looking after her siblings on her shoulders, Manju had no other option but to drop out of school six months ago. She was enrolled in Grade 6 at Tripureshwor Higher Secondary in Dhodekhali at the time.

Now, instead of studying, she spends her time collecting firewood with her neighbours. “I can’t chop the wood myself. If someone gives me cut firewood, I can carry that over to the marketplace and sell it. With that money I buy rice,” Manju shares.

On days she can’t collect firewood, she sells cut grass to buy food with the Rs 50 she makes. Other days, they are left without food unless someone in the village gives them leftovers.

On top of the constant struggle to find food, Manju also has trouble getting stationery for her siblings. Sometimes, they make do with pens left around the school. Manju’s biggest concern at the end of the day is whether to buy food or stationery for her siblings with her hard earned money.

For the three of them, their only hope is their 60-year-old grandmother Jaisari Bik. Sometimes when they get scared during the night they call their grandmother. “I was surviving with great difficulty after separating from my son and daughter in law,” says Jaisari. “Now in my old age, do I look after myself or them?”

Manju says that if somebody is willing to help them out, then she too hopes to return to her studies. “If we had food to eat and enough money to buy stationery, then I too would go to school.”

 

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14 Responses to “Abandoned and alone”

  1. Dilasha on Says:

    Manju alike are the examples reflecting the reality. As a NGO we could console her to well manage her and her family life but, our objective should provide independent life.

  2. Abhishesh on Says:

    Can you please provide the full address of these children, and how can we reach them to help?

  3. Shreya Shrestha on Says:

    Would love to help in whatever way possible. Could I get in touch with the author of the article, Laxmi Bhandari? Or whoever is a good contact person. Thank you very much.
    Shreya

  4. Homes of Hope-Nepal on Says:

    Where are these kids staying? Can you provide us with more information? We would like to help if we can.

  5. Pawan Dhakal on Says:

    Hi,

    I and a few friends were wondering how we could contact the family or if we could help in any way. Please let me know asap, and I will share the information with a few group of people who are willing to help.

    Thanks!
    Pawan

  6. Hari Ghimire on Says:

    Laxmi jee, please provide me the details of kids village and school location details. I will try to send some money for them. Hari Ghimire, Canada

  7. Beverly on Says:

    how can we help these children? Please contact me.

  8. fi hollands on Says:

    How can we help?

  9. Henri on Says:

    My private organization would love to help those children.
    It looks many people would like to help as well, which is a real nice thing !
    If the kids in your article already receive help, maybe you know of others in a similar situation?
    Would appreciate if you could get in touch with me.
    Thanks.
    kidsofnepal.net

  10. Jeev on Says:

    May I have your contact – this story is just heart wrenching.

  11. Maya on Says:

    Is there a way to reach to these children. Can you provide more information.

  12. Kanchha ghale on Says:

    I would love to help them,please let me know where can I find them.I am living in Shanghai but will be in Nepal in two weeks.I would love to meet them and help.

  13. admin on Says:

    We would like to thank everyone for offering to help. You can reach the author of this article, Laxmi Bhandari, at this number 9841203898. Also, following are the bank account details if you wish to contribute: District Child Welfare Committee, Nepal Bank Limited, Surkhet Branch, 194194000068201

  14. Sten-Ove Sundlöf on Says:

    I want to give help to these children and others in the same situation. Thanks for the bank info. I will send money now. Thanks to journalist for sharing.

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