Despite the end of the war, there are tens of thousands of family members of the disappeared who suffer from the psychological effects of their loss. Since 90 per cent of the disappeared were male breadwinners, the impact is mostly on elderly parents, wives and children. Experts call this 'ambiguous loss', a loss that has no verification and is without closure.
"This is not a psychiatric problem," explains Bhava Nath Poudyal of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "Families face complex socio-cultural and relational challenges that affect their daily lives."
The ICRC has chosen Bardiya to work on a multi-pronged program to address psycho-social support for families, since it is the district with the highest number of forced disappearances during the 1996-2006 war.
Bardiya families have been receiving social and psychological support, including providing women with income-generating livestock in collaboration with Heifer International, legal advice, as well as help to organise religious rituals in memory of the missing.
One of the activities involved working with school children from 23 VDCs in Bardiya to draw and paint what they experienced during the war. The aim is to help children cope with their loss by expressing their thoughts through illustrations, and find ways to move ahead in life.
These are a selection of some of the drawings by children at more than 20 art events in the villages of Bardiya earlier this year.
More drawings will be on display at the Shanti Sangralaya, Madan Puraskar, Patan Dhoka from 26 February- 12 March, alongside 'A People War' photo exhibition.
Open 11am – 4pm, except Tuesdays
Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya
Phone : 01-5521393