Some of Kathmandu's youngest green thumbs are getting a healthy dose of eco-friendly living.
A Balkot children's home has ditched the 'orphan tag', and replaced it with a 'green tag' in an effort to give Nepali children a more sustainable future. 'Big brother' and chairperson of the Maya Children's Organisation, Bikash KC, says his ambition was to develop a home and a schooling system to support the children from the 'grassroots'.
KC (centre, pic) has transformed a handful of Balkot's orphan children into some of Kathmandu's future green thumbs, by introducing them to a more sustainable lifestyle. "We're trying to make the kids think greener," he says. "We also want to make the children's homes more homely rather than have them live in institutions." One of the three children's homes that KC is involved with is called Hamroghar Children's Home, meaning 'our home'.
"We want do away with the 'orphan' tag and set up a home with small gardens, chickens and a compost pit so the kids can learn how to become self-reliant," says KC, who rescued over 20 children from an abusive orphanage operating until recently near Balkot. "It was like a business for him." KC believes that if he hadn't acted most of the children would have died of malnutrition, conditions were so bad.
Maya Children's Organisation was set up, first and foremost, to provide a safe living environment for children with nowhere to go. KC concedes that many of the children may not go to university as they started school late. Still, it doesn't stop KC and his charges from dreaming. "We're on a safe route on a plane, but now we're looking for a safe landing,'' he says.
Green thumb and orphan Sagar Magar, 15, lives in an Australian-funded orphanage called Meg's home in Balkot. He's been trying to set up a green club at school as a result of KC's mentoring. "We are learning how to manage crops and the green club will help in recyling," he says. "The degradable products will go into a compost pit; plastic goods will be recycled."