Adoption: A business worth millions for German-Nepalese partnership
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- The cost of reshaping adoption
Germans are building a children’s home in Dhading, Nepal, for 150 children on the books for adoption. Adoptions in Nepal for US and German citizens are currently on hold but are due to be re-allowed from the end of 2011. It is a huge business for the organizers of this trade – and for local Nepalese politician Ramesh Dhamala.
I have traveled to Nepal several times in recent years, on my regular visits to my friends and realtions in Nepalgunj and Dhading. The story that they told me last month shows just how deeply corruption has pervaded the country, and, what’s more, that German NGOs are aiding it.
Adoptions were always big business in Nepal, with corrupt go-betweens pocketing up to $20,000 from would-be adopters, usually arranged illegally. For the most part, the children are not really orphans, but were wheedled from their parents who feel they do not have the money to raise them. The business creates tragedies that cannot be made good again. There are plenty of examples of mothers still searching for their children after years. It is a rewarding business for the children’s homes though.
The German organization “Kinderhilfe Nepal” is currently building one in Dhading, Nepal, for up to 150 children. Building costs of up to $500,000 have been earmarked for it, a huge and unrealistic sum for Nepal. The neutral observer has uncovered numerous inconsistencies and it reeks of corruption. Considering the capital that these children represent as they wait to be placed in families in Germany, it is obvious why corruption plays such a big part in this project. The 150 children waiting for adoption add up to a capital of $3 million. And that is only set to rise as more and more children join their ranks.
The Children’s Future Organization, a front for “Carismo” and “Kinderhilfe Nepal” of Germany, has already successfully gained a foothold in arranging adoptions of Nepalese children in Germany. The links are easy to spot: the chairman of this organization is a local politician in the Congress Party, Ramesh Dhamala, whose voting district happens to be Dhading. And now that is where the children’s home is to be built. Ramesh Dhamala is well-known as an organizer of adoptions to parents in European countries. He is very familiar with the rural areas around Dhading, and he ought to have no problems in procuring fresh tenants for the new children’s home. Ramesh Dhamala has a thoroughly negative reputation in Kathmandu because of it. In 1998 he was heavily involved in the Forum Hotel sex affair in which the owner had blackmailed the entire hotel to the bone.
It is really no surprise then that Ramesh Dhamala should also be supervising construction of the new children’s home in Dhading. Using money gifted by the German society, 2009 saw him purchase 300,000 sq. ft. of land for $30,000. Part of this land is now the site of the children’s home. It appears very much that the German organizers are looking the other way when it comes to the hair-raising corruption linked to the construction. They are in fact paying for an access road to the isolated plot. That in itself has pushed up the current value of those 300,000 sq. ft. of land to $250,000. Experts have not even looked at half of the expenses claimed by Kinderhilfe Nepal. But one thing is certain: No end of misery is in store when parents sell their children. Local politician Ramesh Dhamala has found his new goldmine. And you have to ask yourself: are the German donors just plain stupid or do they in fact share responsibility?