Staff member Tulsi Mainali with some of the children of the Sunrise Orphanage.
This was our first project in Nepal, established in July 2005, in response to a need for a safe, loving, home for many orphaned and abandoned children who were living in corrupt and abusive orphanages in Kathmandu. Many of the children in these orphanages were not orphaned but had either been enticed by traffickers or willingly sent away by their families to Kathmandu to escape the maoist conflict in their villages or simply in the hope of a better life and education.
With children that have come to Sunrise from these orphanages through emergency rescues by the Nepal government, and have families that could potentially care for them, we firstly aim to re-connect them with their families. The next step is to try and re-integrate them fully and as part of this process, we agree to provide ongoing support for their education through our Community Education Scholarship Programs.
So far we have re-connected 70 of the 74 children living at Sunrise with their relatives and they now spend at least the annual Dasain holidays with them back in their home villages.
In addition, 20% of the children Sunrise has cared for have been successfully re-integrated with their families.
The Central Child Welfare Board of Nepal estimates there are still almost 200 orphanages where children are living in far less than satisfactory conditions. The child authorities are still in the process of rescuing children from these types of orphanages, with the hope of placing them in temporary care or where ever possible, directly returning them to their families.
For those children who have been genuinely orphaned and abandoned and have no relatives that can care for them, we aim to provide a safe, loving and supportive family environment.We currently do this through:
- Ensuring that each bedroom has an aunty, uncle, parental figure who loves and cares for them and guides their development
- Ensuring siblings of the same gender live closely together. We have found that some children have siblings that have been placed in other orphanages or children’s homes, so we are working with various organisations to try and place them in the same home.
- Encouraging the children to give their bedrooms their own personal touch, and give them their own personal space and privacy.
- Allowing the children to actively participate in general household chores that resemble a typical Nepalese family home. The kitchen, in particular, is very much a family place where children and adults spend time talking, sharing and forming close relationships.
- Encouraging relatives to call and visit and often as possible. Some children, for example, may have grandparents, aunts, uncles or elder siblings who they are in contact with but may be unable to care for them properly on a full time basis.
- Fostering an older brother or sister relationship with an older child at Sunrise for children that don’t have their own siblings. In this way, orphaned children receive the love, care, attention, guidance and support that a real sibling would provide.
Children at the Sunrise Orphanage.
Currently we are living in rented premises, so living arrangements are somewhat restricted however. At the new Sunrise home that is being built in Gurje, Nuwakot in 2012, we are developing separate self-contained units that will more closely resemble a natural family environment. Each unit will provide a home for around 10 ten children and one Sunrise parent. Male and female siblings will be able to share their home, along with other Sunrise brothers and sisters of varying ages. This family like setting will enable them to develop closer relationships with each other, feel a greater sense of security and privacy, and as they grow in their home under the guidance of their Sunrise parents, have the opportunity to play a large role in the running of their own household, which will benefit them greatly in their future.
We also provide all children with the following facilities, which in combination with the above, will give them every opportunity to reach their full potential and turn their dreams into their reality:Basic care
- A nutritious and well-balanced diet and sufficient clean drinking water.
- Regular health checks and treatments, including dental checkups and immunizations.
- Appropriate clothing.
- Personal privacy, freedom of expression and opportunities to build their knowledge and form their own views, opinions and beliefs.
- Psychological care and counselling and rehabilitation therapy.
- A broad education covering such things as local culture, English and Nepali.
- Facilities and activities including an in-house library, arts and crafts, various sports, public speaking, cultural programs and competitions, educational field trips, picnics and child rights training, specifically on the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child.
- Development of basic life skills including training in housekeeping, basic hygiene, health treatment, nutrition, first aid, basic safety and emergency training such as earthquake training.
- Vocational and skills development training in computing, music, singing, dancing, sewing, knitting and arts and crafts.
- Income generating programs such as traditional Tibetan thanka painting. These paintings which are made by the children are then sold in Australia and the money is deposited in the child’s personal bank account.
- Social work and outreach programs where youth from Sunrise Orphanage volunteer their time visiting other welfare projects and needy children and people to learn about social work, share their knowledge and experience and learn from others.
To help transition the youths into an independent life after attaining their School Leaving Certificate (SLC i.e. year 10), we aim to provide them with three levels of assistance;
- College support - The youth are encouraged to go on to college (year 11+) and Sunrise supports a portion of their fees and other needs. The youth are responsible for paying the balance themselves with money earned from part time jobs.
- Practical work experience - We help organize practical work experience in their desired field to help prepare them for their future careers and to develop connections within the local community that may provide potential employment opportunities.
- Traineeships - We help place the youth in paid trainee jobs in their chosen field. This may be on a full time basis or on a part time basis in conjunction with their college studies.
Sunrise Orphanage is still in rented premises which is unsustainable in the long term. Read more about the plans for our new permanent home.