The Special Commission on the practical operation of the Hague Convention is screening the Terre des Hommes/UNICEF Nepal documentary Paper Orphans on June 17th:
The documentary Paper Orphans focuses on three NGOs -- Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir), the Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH), and the Education Centre for Helpless Children (ECHC).
The Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH) has been the center of controversy for many years. Back in 2004, Samay National Weekly published an article (in Nepali) on the home.
Here is a translation:
The business of foster children
Samay National Weekly
Date: August 27, 2004
Page No: 26
Section: Cover Story
Author: Kiran Bhandari
Kathmandu - At just 29 years of age, she is not only a mother of seven, but also a hapless widow. If this was not enough, another crisis has now befallen in her life. Among her 7 childrens she trusted to Bal Mandir (a school for poor children and orphans) for their upbringing, three have already made it to Spain. And after knowing about this, she has become greatly annoyed and irritated. How they went there, she knows nothing.
Samakushi located Child Protection Center has given the custody of the children of Nirmala Thapa of Dhading to three different Spanish families through, as it has been alleged, fraudulent and deceptive ways. According to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the three children were adopted by Rosa Maria, Maria Teresa and Vladamir Ripol Rosel and were subsequently taken to different Spanish cities.
However, Nirmala's only wish and desire was to see her children get a good upbringing. After losing her children, Nirmala has been moving around telling her heartrending stories to CDO office, police, foreign ministry, different non-governmental organization and whoever takes interest on her plight. While recounting the sad tale of her separation from her loving childrens, she sometimes becomes dreary and seemingly cheerless and then suddenly becomes enraged and then bursts into tears.
Blaming the Child Protection Center of sending her children to Spain by deceiving her and claiming it as a fraudulent act, she is making rounds of the CDO (Chief District Officer) office daily from the past one month seeking justice. Who gave the authority to the center to give away the children, who were admitted there for their studies, as foster child? She has only one demand, "I don't know anything, I only want my children back."
Lav Hari Acharya, an official, is angry with Nirmala and blasts at her, "Late King Birendra might return, but your childrens would never. So it is would do you no good to fight with Sabitri." Sabitri Basnet, a former employee of Bal Mandir, is an administrator of the Child Protection Center. Her husband, former police inspector Jitendra Basnet, is a chairman of the center.
But still, despite all the odds working against her, Nirmala hasn't called it all over and without feeling defeated has been saying that she didn't give the permission to send her child abroad. Stating that Sabitri had sent her children without her consent and knowing, she is adamant on her stance that she should get her children back. Instead of reaching into the conclusion by first finding out the facts, when the officials of the CDO office turned a deaf ear to all her pleas, helpless and at the same time enraged looking Nirmala was said with streaks of tears in her eyes: "Do anything, but never do injustice by taking bribes."
To be continued....
Continued from yesterday
On this Chief District Officer Neupane said, "As Nirmala's case is very complex, we are looking into the matter very seriously." Making it clear that the document certified by the district administration can't be bypassed, he said, "Before giving the recommendation to hand over the custody of the foster children, we now first verify the parents of the children and then only move the process forward. But what happened during that time, I can't say."
By taking this very episode as an example, Kathmandu District Administration, suspecting massive irregularity and misrepresentation on the issue of foster children, has made the entire process a bit stricter. "We are making decisions only after considering the reputation of the organization in question," Neupane said, "Only after first closely analyzing the intention of the child center, I approve the foster children's file." As the administration has adopted a strict policy on this issue from the past three months, some 76 such files are gathering dust in the Kathmandu District Administration.
In the past five years, some 706 Nepali children have gone abroad as foster children. With every passing year, this number is growing alarmingly. Including Bal Mandir, thirteen other child centers have been sending children as foster sons/daughters to different countries in Europe and America. Government officials and concerned people and organizations involved in this admit that a transaction between 5 to 10 thousand dollars takes place while sending a child abroad as foster son/daughter.
Strong business mindset has already set a foothold in child centers opened with the sole objective of "charity and service." In the child center at Samakushi, some 78 students have received full and family scholarships. In the three years after they started sending children abroad as foster sons/daughters, the child center proudly informed us that they have altogether sent 54 children abroad up till now.
After handing over the custody of small children, like Nirmala's, to a foreigner, it is unfair and wrong to drive out relatively older children and adolescents (who have less chances of being adopted as foster children) from the child center. A child center makes good profits when it sends children as foster sons/daughters abroad, and this is very much like an open secret.
Meanwhile, Nirmala hasn't demanded anything other than her sons and daughters. "She hasn't asked for any money, and says she wants her children. Now how should I get her children back as they are already abroad?" Sabitri said. She said that she is even ready to give refuge to other children of Nirmala if she comes to her and apologizes and agrees for a compromise.
Which agency's doors should Nirmala (and many other suffering mothers like her) knock at in this kind of situation? CDO Neupane tries to answer this, "Our work is to recommend only, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare decides on this."
Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Asta Laxmi Shakya told us that there is serious problem in this whole process of sending children as foster sons/daughters abroad. She informed that the government has formed a taskforce to find measures to curb these kinds of deplorable practices.
Concluded (Translated by AGrg, Nepalnews.com)
For a Spanish translation, go to The Direct Help Foundation (TDHF):
See also: El Pais -- Un drama lejano: los ninos vendidos de Nepal:
And Pound Pup Legacy:
At last report, Nirmala Thapa was still waiting for her children:
For more recent controversies at the Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH), see PEAR Nepal:
Dalit Couple Foils Adoption Of Offspring (Republica)
Adopted Children always in disputes! (Voice of Children)
Here is the 2007 Helpless Children Protection Home board (2007 download from HCPH website):
1. Mr. Jetendra Basnyat - Chairman
2. Mrs. Pabitra Ghale - Vice Chairman
3. Mrs. Ishori Shah - General Secretary
4. Mrs. Archana Gurung - Treasurer
5. Dr. Tekendra Karki - Member
6. Eng. Narayan Karki - Member
7. Dr. Laxman Shakya - Member
8. Lieutenant Karna Bahadur Gurung - Member
9. Re. Col. Mohan Pratap Gurung - Member
10. Dr. Damber Gurung
- Foreign Counselor
11. Mrs. Mukta Shrestha - Financial Counselor
12. Dr. Jyoti Ratna Dhwakhwa - Health Counselor
13. S.P. Dr. Kulesh Thapa - Health Counselor
14. Advocate Mr. Yagya Nepal - Legal Counselor
15. Mrs. Sabitri Basnyat - Program Coordinator
Advocate Mr. Yagya Nepal (HCPH Legal Counselor) was a facilitator for the defunct Claar Foundation. Yagya's kinsman (Ramhari Nepal) also helped with adoptions. Yagya (and the Claar Foundation) worked with the HCPH, NCO/Bal Mandir, & the Education Centre for Helpless Children (ECHC) -- all homes that feature in the film Paper Orphans.
The owner of the Claar Foundation was sent to prison:
In 2007, Yagya Nepal wrote to Nchild (the Yahoo adoption group) that he was going to resign from the Helpless Children Protection Home board.
Another facilitator, Mrs. Mukta Shrestha (HCPH Financial Counselor), has long worked with Barcelona Honorary Consul Lluis Belvis:
"Mukta, who started to translate for Spanish families 15 years ago, should know. She’s helped to facilitate more than 100 adoptions in the last 15 years....
Mukta’s connection to Spain stems from a class she took in the Spanish language from the Campus of International Languages 15 years ago, which led to her work as a translator for Spanish tourists. Inevitably, the work led to families seeking to adopt. Before long, she found herself visiting the Ministry of Women and Children, visiting orphanages, and coordinating with Lluis Belvis, the Spanish honorary counsel in Barcelona, to facilitate adoption paperwork for different families."
S.P. Dr. Kulesh Thapa - Health Counselor is listed here as the Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police:
Currently Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police, Dr. Kulesh Thapa is a medical doctor affiliated with the Nepal Police Hospital for the last 23 years. His particular area of expertise is disaster management. Dr. Thapa also works as a trainer of pre-hospital emergency care and has extensive experience throughout South and South East Asia, and Africa working with UNDP and international NGOs.
As of last October, he was working in paediatrics:
Once a month, he visits another adoption home -- Nepal Child Conservation Home (which is supported by Holt International, an American placement agency):
Every month, famous Pediatrician Dr. Kulesh Thapa comes to visit children. The children tell their own health complains and doctor gives prescription according to their illness. Beside that, if children got any illness, the caretakers take them to nearest health center and do check up.
Dr. Tekendra Karki - Member is also interested in paediatrics:
Dr. Tekendra Karki Organizing Secretary XIIIth Nepalese Congress of Paediatrics NEPAS Secretariat: Kanti Children’s Hospital P.O. Box. 2668, Maharajgunj Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel. No. 977-1- 4412648 (Off.) Fax. 977-1- 427449 E-mail: email@example.com
Dr. Jyoti Ratna Dhwakhwa - Health Counselor is working with Dr. Tekendra Karki at the Institute of Child Health -- Kanti Children’s Hospital:
HCPH -- from the old NCO adoption home list:
Helpless Children Protection Home
phone -- 4 444 288
fax -- 4 442 754
contact -- Mrs. Sabitri Basnet
Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB):
Asahaya Baal Balika Samrakshyana Griha
Ranibari, Krishna Mandeer
phone -- 4444288
Social Welfare Council (SWC):
Asahaya Balabalika Sanrakshyan Grih
Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN) member:
Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH)
Ms. Sabitri Basnyat
Sabitri Basnayat -- Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN) board member:
Prachanda Raj Pradhan
Bishwo Ram Khadka
Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal
Sanu Prajapati Maharjan
Pratima Pathak Mudhbhari
Mr. Kedar Dahal
Maya Suhar Tamata
Upendra Keshari Neupane
(CNFN board -- downloaded 10 June 2010)
For allegations of child trafficking at NCO/Bal Mandir, see PEAR Nepal:
Prachanda Raj Pradhan -- head of the Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN)
Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir or Balmandir)
Contacts -- Rabin Shrestha & Reeta Singh Baidya
Central Office, Bal Mandir, Naxal
P O Box 6967, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 4 411202, 4 410 844, 4 419 219
Fax: + 977 1 4 414 485
Blacklisted by French Foreign Service:
Given separate matching board in the 2008 Terms and Conditions for Adoption.
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