Kidsave’s Terry Baugh met with child advocate Tek Prasal Rijal in Katmandu earlier this month to discuss his work helping vulnerable children. Tek is a facilitator and a Team Leader for Nepal Without Orphans.
In Nepal it is estimated there are 975,000 orphaned and vulnerable children — and orphanages proliferate. Tek shared that in Nepal 594 orphanages are officially registered and approximately the same number of orphanages which are not registered. Orphanages damage children and the results of this care impacts a child for life. Without a caring adult, children do not do well in school, they do not graduate from high school. They are vulnerable to trafficking likely to be homeless, turn to crime and prostitution. Trafficking of children is a big problem in Nepal.
Women are widely discriminated against in Nepal and Tek started by talking about the challenges of adoption in Nepal. “Only people who have no children can adopt in Nepal,” Tek said. “There is an exception for families who have a daughter and no son– they can adopt a son.” Much work needs to be done to change attitudes and laws before large numbers of children move into families.
Tek’s life as a child advocate is challenging. As a Christian, he focuses on trying to build awareness among pastors and leaders about how to support orphaned children and children in poor families who are at risk of being put in an orphanage.
Life is balancing act for Tek — caring for his own family of four children, his work as a child advocate and a lawyer. His small salary is consumed by personal expenses, and he is taxed with operational expenses as well. When he visits the villages he is required to take a traditional gift, and pay for the needs of the poor families. While his organization has no fundraiser he has started a small grant program to provide small loans for families to support their own small businesses.
Kidsave salutes Tek Prasad Rijal, an unsung hero, for his dedication and efforts to improve the lives of orphaned children.
If you’re interested in learning more about supporting orphans in Nepal, contact Terry at Terry@kidsave.org.