I was 12 when I got married to a man of 34 and by the age of 13, I was already pregnant with Suresh. Two years later, I gave birth to Sushmita, my husband took his own life when I was 22 and had to suffer harder days after that.
When I was struggling with life, one of my relatives informed me about a place where my children could get free education if I sent them there. I was afraid to send my only wealth away from me but she assured me people there would take great care of my Suresh and Sushmita. I would be allowed to meet them anytime I wanted, but there was a condition.
I would not take them out of that place until my children would complete their 10th examination. I thought it would lessen my burden as well, thus sent Suresh and Sushmita to this home. But I did not not miss a single chance to call and talk to them, I visited them at least once a week. I could see the foreigners playing with children when I went there and also came to know some of them stayed there. I always doubted why the foreigners , who were some volunteers and donors visited and lived in that children’s home. Then I knew they donated money seeing orphan children there, but my children were not orphans.
Once I witnessed children doing household chores. My little Sushmita was cleaning stairs and floors. When I inquired more, I came to know Suresha also cleaned toilets. I even talked to [the orphanage] about these things but he made excuses.
In one visit, my children shared with me they were taken to Kalimati to beg for groceries for home. It broke me, and one started giving money to the [orphanage] though not much.
I thought, I should do this much sacrifice so I could see my children as educated people in future. So, I kept my mouth shut. All was okay until they were in Kathmandu, elder boys and girls where shifted to another distinct so they could work in fields and grow crops.
When I went there to meet my children, I could not stop crying. I could clearly see how my children were discriminated. Children used to work in field all day and later in the night they had to sleep in the garden in open sky. I stayed there for few days and worked myself.
I could not bear more and asked [the orphanage] to send my children with me as I did not want anymore to see my children in such condition. It was difficult for me to feed myself , but I would work harder for my children.
‘You kept your two children with me for two years. On that basis, first pay me all the money that I spent on them; at least 3,000 Shilling per month for each child then after, you are welcome to take your kids away.’ That was their version. I was earning Rs 2,00 per month then. How could I pay him Rs 144,00 to get my children back? I returned empty hand and wished for some miracles to happen.One month after this incident, I got a call from an organisation saying, ‘Your children have been rescued from a children’s home and are now in safer hands. Come and get your children back.’ The rest is history.
Children belong in families. Not orphanages. Find out how you can be part of the solution.