April 25th 2015

Everyone in their lifetime will have a memorable experience. It might be happy memories or it might be sad or even hurtful. Some memories bring a smile to our face whereas others might bring the tears rolling from our eyes.

It was a Saturday morning in April. Saturday is special for everyone because we neither have to go to school nor the office. We had eaten our lunch at around 10:00 in the morning, and then did some washing. We then went up to the third floor of our rented house to watch television. It may have been 10.45 when the power suddenly went off. We were not at all concerned as this happens several times in Kathmandu.

Staircase badly cracked

I remember it as clearly as though it was yesterday. Being the eldest, I was the first one to realize what was really happening and screamed loudly ‘’it’s an earthquake.’’ By then all of us had jumped up and were terrified. The walls of the room were all cracked, dust flying around and windows cracking. The stone staircase was cracked and shaking as we struggled to get down to the ground floor and away from the building. During those moments all we could do was panic and pray to God for help.

Once we were outside, we joined our younger brothers and sisters who were out with Dot ma’am, who is one of our Godmothers besides Anne and Monica ma’am. Shortly after Anjali ma’am who is our house supervisor and her husband Jagat Sir came running to see if we were ok. After an hour Chirungeebi Sir, the President of OCCED came to see us too. All the day the ground continued to shake making us dizzy and so frightened. We turned on the radio and on the news all we could hear was the number of deaths and injuries. I would say the worst thing we heard was that so many cultural heritages of Nepal were destroyed.

Living under tent

Dot ma’am was of great help during that time. She stayed every night with us, ate the same food as we did and tried to distract our minds away from the earthquake. Mostly the days were sunny and very hot whereas the nights were unusually raining heavily with cold wind.

Even during that time we got to eat warm food whereas most of the people in our country were fighting with hunger and thirst. Luckily we were able to rescue our gas cylinder and food, so we had enough to eat. Because the house was too dangerous to live in we slept on the hard ground under a plastic sheet for almost 2 months. The schools were closed for a month so Anjali ma’am made us study in the evening.

For a few years earlier, the OCCED Board, our three Godmothers and other supporters had been saving money to buy a new home of our own and two months after the earthquake we were able to move into a beautiful new home which we call our “ Dream Home.’’ This would not have been possible without the continued support of our Godmothers, all the volunteers and well-wishers of OCCED NEPAL and most importantly our OCCED family and members.

I would definitely say that experiencing this earthquake was the worst experience in my entire life.

Grade: XI (17 years old)

One of the boys at OCCED children’s home was asked to paint murals on the walls at the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu and here he is with photos of his paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Hello, I am 18 years old. I was born in Mugu village high in the mountains in mid-western Nepal. I cannot remember my early childhood but know that the Maoist Rebels came about the year 2002 and raided our village with handguns and khukuri knives. They killed hundreds of people especially police, soldiers and educated people like teachers and doctors who supported the Government and the Royal Family. They took away teenage boys and healthy men to indoctrinate them. They looted our houses, taking food and anything of value, and also some of our sisters. So only the very young children, old people and some poor labourers were left to look after their small fields and animals.

Before then, my family had about 17 donkeys which we rented out and 300 sheep. I was maybe 4 years old and spent my days as a shepherd. I lived with my older brother who had hidden away when the rebels came. We ate chapatti , rice, potato, green beans, spinach and pulses. We ate meat only at festival time. The sheep milk was used for making cheese and we sold the fleece to make warm clothes.

Water poured into hands to drink

Later I went to school which was about 3 hours walk away. The school building was made of stone, mud and wood, and there were only about sixteen students. The girls stayed at home to do housework and work in the fields. Many boys left school about 14 or 15 years old and were married to girls from a neighbouring village.

We were all Hindu and the caste system was very strict. My family was a lower caste, so we were dominated by the upper caste. We were not allowed to touch their clothes or food. If we did, then it would be thrown away. We were not allowed to drink from the same vessel as they did. Instead, they poured the water into our hand.

Little Ones at Occed  old house in Naxal

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, my brother went to India for safety, so I was sent to OCCED Children’s Home via the District Commissioner. There were about 20 children from babies to my age. I was so frightened and I tried to run away, but another boy saw me and I was brought back. I stayed there about 6 months. Then I was sent with other children to the main OCCED Children’s Home in Kathmandu.

A Citizenship Card

A Nepali Citizenship certificate is an essential document which must be applied for by every citizen of Nepal.  Without the Citizenship document, it is not possible to cast a vote in the elections, open a Bank account, get work in either a Government or private post.  It is also not possible to get a passport, thus making travel out of the country impossible.

We are allowed to apply for the Citizenship certificate after completing Class 10 at school, after 16 years of age, when we have passed the SLC, or School Leaving Certificate exam.  However, much documentation is required, and this may be extremely difficult, if not impossible for an orphaned or abandoned child to obtain.

The documentation includes your own birth certificate, the SLC certificate, a copy of your father’s citizenship card, and a recommendation from the local township where you were born.  If the applicant cannot provide a copy of his/her father’s citizenship card, then a public enquiry is held by the local Village Development Committee, who then hopefully writes a letter of recommendation to the Chief District Officer. This letter of recommendation must be signed and fingerprinted by seven locals from the village, who must state that they know the applicant very well, and that he/she belongs to that community.

The certificate is a small card which includes your personal and family details, permanent address, a photograph and your two thumbprints.

Travelling to village

In OCCED, a few older children are having big problems obtaining the documentation.  It may be that they do not know their family name, in which case they are called O Ne (OCCED Nepal). It may be that the father’s name on their birth certificate is spelt wrongly, and does not match the spelling on the documentation in the local township office where they were born.

One of the boys here has made the journey to his village of birth two times already, each journey taking two weeks by bus and walking. He has still not been awarded his Citizenship because of problems with the documentation.  One letter of his father’s name is different on the boy’s birth certificate compared with his father’s details held by the village township. It is a big problem.