Nepal -- Corruption at Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir)

Allegations of corruption at Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir)

In May, the Mitrataa Foundation took over running Bal Mandir (a five year contract) despite serious reservations over the "severe corruption" at Nepal Children's Organization:

Mitrataa Foundation -- Annual Report 2010

10. Bal Mandir

Many of you will know that Bal Mandir is a children’s home in Kathmandu, currently home to 200 children. It is run by Nepal Children’s Organisation, one of our core partners. We have been running a number of projects at Bal Mandir with NCO and we knew that they had been having financial problems. They are responsible for over 600 children in 11 homes across Nepal. They approached us and asked us to consider taking over the management of Bal Mandir for 5 years to help them set it up as a sustainable, model home that they could then use to help them set  up similar models in their other homes. Although running children’s homes is not core to Mitrataa’s Vision, a train-the-trainer approach to sustainability is at the heart of what we do. So we agreed to explore this project with them. It was a huge project and after many negotiations the agreement was signed by Mitrataa and we were to take over management from 1 September 2010. We were so excited about the possibilities for this project and were so grateful for the support we received from many different people and organisations as we embarked on this very  daunting journey, including Bathurst Breakfast Group, Randwick Rotary, East Canberra Rotary, SHAWS Kindergarten.

Unfortunately, due to severe corruption within NCO, we had to cancel the project as we were not confident that we would be able to deliver on the objectives without risking Mitrataa’s reputation as an organisation that refuses to pay bribes. This was a heartbreaking decision but we felt very strongly that we could not put the rest of the  projects and all the people we work with in Nepal at risk.

http://www.mitrataa.org/about_us/Annual%20Report%202010.pdf

Mitrataa announces five year Bal Mandir contract (May 2011):

http://mitrataa.blogspot.com/2011/05/bal-mandir-revisited-be-careful-what.html

Now there are more allegations of corruption at Nepal Children's Organization -- this time related to NCO's leasing:

PAC BAL MANDIR (Nepal Television):

Aug 01 2011 - Public accounts committee of legislative Parliament has ordered Nepal children's organization to give public land on lease only after forming a necessary guideline and working procedure. Officials of Nepal children's Organization told the committee that the organsiation is looking after the orphans and children from the monthly rent of the land. The organization was questioned over the allegation that the organsiation is randomly leasing land in its name in the capital and other places. The organization is feeding some 6 hundred children across the country and it raises about 10.5 million rupees as rent against the land lease. The committee was told that several of the earlier contracts were dissolved following the directives of the commission for the investigation of abuse of authority-CIAA.

http://ntv.org.np/index.php?option=com_news&view=news&Itemid=16&limitstart=10

PAC directs NCO not to lease land based on verbal contract (Nepalnews.com):

Monday, 01 August 2011

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the legislature parliament has directed Nepal Children's Organisation (NCO) to stop leasing its lands in various places in Kathmandu valley based on verbal contract only and follow the government prescribed procedure for the leasing.

PAC concluded at a meeting on Sunday that there was huge difference in the rent of the land plots leased out on competition and those without competition.

It was found that the organisation had been receiving a rent of Rs 430 thousands per Ropani per annum on land leased out through tender process, while it had been receiving only Rs 141 thousands to 384 thousands from land plots leased without completion.

NCO has been leasing out 57 Ropanis (about 3 hectares) of land in various prime locations in the capital. Out of 57 Ropanis of land a little more than 9 Ropanis in Naxal has been leased to the education ministry without contract and without any rent.

PAC has directed the NCO to lease out land only through competition and also take rent from the education ministry for the use of land in Naxal.

http://www.nepalnews.com/home/index.php/news/19/12128-pac-directs-nco-not-to-lease-land-based-on-verbal-contract.html

PAC directs not to lease NCO property (Kantipur):

KATHMANDU, JUL 31 -

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament has directed the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare not to lease the land and building of Nepal Children’s Organisation (NCO) until the Terms of Reference is prepared.

The PAC issued such directive on Sunday after holding discussions with the officials of the ministry and NCO regarding the lax in procedure while renting out the Naxal-based land and building owned by the organisation.

Nepal Children’s Organisation Chairman Rita Singh Baidya and Secretary at the Children Ministry Ananda Raj Pokhrel were present during the discussions at PAC office in Singh Durbar.

Likewise, the committee has directed the officials to submit the details of land and building owned by the NCO.

Posted on: 2011-07-31

http://www.ekantipur.com/2011/07/31/business/pac-directs-not-to-lease-nco-property/338320.html

Children's Organisation asked to systematise property leasing (Kathmandu Post):

KATHMANDU, JUL 31

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament has directed the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare not to lease land and buildings of Nepal Children's Organisation (NCO) until a set of terms of reference is prepared.

The PAC issued the directive on Sunday after holding discussions with officials from the ministry and the NCO regarding the procedure by which the Naxal-based land and building owned by the organisation was rented out. 

NCO Chairperson Rita Singh Baidhya and Ananda Raj Pokhrel, secretary at the ministry, were present during the discussion at the PAC office in Singha Durbar. The committee has directed the officials to submit the details of land and buildings owned by the NCO.

PAC Chairperson Ram Krishna Yadav said the NCO has been directed to prepare an inventory of its land and buildings within October. A tender process has to be adopted while leasing the property following the set terms of conditions. 

It has also directed the government to allocate budget to NCO for organising its programmes while regularly monitoring the programmes and receiving a progress report every three months.

Posted on: 2011-08-01

http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2011/07/31/metro/childrens-organisation-asked-to-systematise-property-leasing/224641.html

Meanwhile, there are long-standing allegations of child trafficking at Nepal Children's Organization.

See:

Victims of Balmandir (Pound Pup Legacy):

http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/43654

"It is known that in the process of selling children and taking commission present office secretary Rajeshwor Niraula, President Rita Singh Baidya, employee Ram Krishna Subedi, some police personnel and some child trafficking agents are involved."

and

Nepal: Children for sale (Al Jazeera):

http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/winners/2012/pieces.php?iid=429797&pid=1

The film opens with a Bal Mandir case.

 and

 Paper Orphans documentary posted on the web (PEAR Nepal):

http://pearadoptinfo-nepal.blogspot.com/2011/10/paper-orphans-documentary-posted-on-web.html

The Terre des hommes/Image Ark documentary on adoption trafficking in Humla (reputed NCO/Bal Mandir kidnappings). Some Humli children ended up in India -- others in the inter-country adoption trade.

The recent scandals at NCO/Bal Mandir simply confirm the wisdom of PEAR Nepal's recommendations (March 2010):

"The foreign embassies & the Hague Conference Mission are clearly right in insisting that the Child NGO Federation Nepal be removed from all adoption activities. Nepal Children's Organization should be dissolved as well, and its homes handed over to an organization with a less unsavory reputation. Perhaps Next Generation Nepal or the Umbrella Foundation."

http://pearadoptinfo-nepal.blogspot.com/2010/03/prachanda-raj-pradhan-head-of-child-ngo.html

It is time for Nepal Children's Organization to come to an end.

Update -- June 2014

For NCO's recent sex scandal, see Pound Pup Legacy:

Nepal — Rabin Shrestha (alleged child rapist) & Action for Child Rights International

http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/72721

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News from BalMandir and NCO back in charge soon - trouble

Did you know that australian Mitrataa is now pulling out from BalMandir? NCO will be back from April 1st or from May 1st.

Since May 2011 the number of children has gone down from 200+ to 100+, apx 100 children less by february 2013.

Many have been adopted domestic - mostly aged 0 - 5 years old. Mitrataa has had nothing to do with domestic adoptions, NCO has had hands on all this time.

My family adopted in 2003 a child found in august, advertisements in september, adopted in December. Then again a child found summer 2006, advertised august/september 2006, but due to stops in the process not adopted until December 2007.

Since 2003 we have worried a lot for the children at BalMandir and through a local project manager arranged for leisure time activities like football, basketball, small treks and outings, music, cooking etc. Our contact person hired activity leaders. But he is too close to the personnell at NCO an Mitrataa does not want to cooperate with him. Therefore, when Mitrataa now pulls out from BalMandir, the leisure time activities comes to a stop, too. Making the daily life in this institution more boring. But worse is that NCO without the income from intercountry adoptions do not have possibilities to feed and educate the children. This is a critical situation for all children left at BalMandir.

What can be done????? SOS - S O S

Of course I have already tried to make our own adoption agency responsible, but they wash their hands and say they can not cooperate with NCO. Bullshit. It was our national government who denied any more adoptions from Nepal, the last one took place in 2011, but already in 2007 we knew it would come to a full stop very soon. Our agency is not honest.

Yours,
Adoptivemother of 2 but with all the children and youth stuck with NCO deep in my hearth, too.

Pound Pup Legacy