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Ban on new orphanages

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

CCWBWary of child trafficking in the wake of the 25 April earthquake that left scores of children orphans and homeless, the government has imposed a ban on the registration of new orphanages in Nepal.

The Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB), a government body that monitors children’s homes, says the ban will be revoked – or extended – only after carrying out an assessment for the need of new orphanages.

“The ban will minimise the risk of child trafficking,” said the CCWB’s Executive Director Tarak Dhital. “Some people are already getting to the earthquake-hit villages and getting children together – mostly not orphans – to open new orphanages, we want to stop them with this ban.”

The CCWB has also made it mandatory for all orphanages to seek its consent before transferring children out of orphanages damaged by the earthquake. “Relocation gives child traffickers an opportunity,” says Dhital.

Many orphanages damaged by the earthquake are now moving their children out of Kathmandu Valley, which Dhital admits has not been monitored at all. “We don’t know who are relocating how many children and where,” he says. “We’re afraid some of the children might be trafficked while being moved.”

Dhital says there are already ‘more than enough’ orphanages in Kathmandu Valley. The latest data shows 9,968 children living in 560 orphanages in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.

Officials say the number of children ending up in orphanages is bound to rise dramatically after the earthquake. They are also aware of some traffickers separating children from parents by exploiting the misery inflicted upon the families by the earthquake.

The CCWB has already sent back 45 children, who were brought from Dhading to Kathmandu after the earthquake, to their families. “They all have families but were separated and brought to Kathmandu as orphans,” says Namuna Bhushal of the CCWB. “Their parents’ informed consent was not secured and the local authorities were not informed.”

The Maoist war led to a surge in the number of orphans and orphanages. Child rights activists now fear that the earthquake might cause a similar flow. Nearly 16,000 children are now living in 585 orphanages across Nepal.

Om Astha Rai

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One Response to “Ban on new orphanages”

  1. Kerensa Pickett OcI-clark on Says:

    Bout time!

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