Paper Orphan\Kishan Sharki (Kantipur Daily)
Translated from Nepali
Lalitpur - The language and gestures of Kishan Sharki show that he is a young boy of Catalonia, Spain where he is living now. His English is influenced by Spanish accent. He uses Facebook and helps his mother in arranging spoons and forks in the kitchen. Before this, he is seen by the seaside with his mother, Rosa Mestres. Instantly; they enter into a place where a dance party is going on.
But instantly there appears Humla, Jumla, and the rural Karnali, of Nepal where Bodoma Sharki, who is in utmost poverty, appears saddened for being separated from her eldest son. She handed her son to the director of Humla Red Cross, Nara Bahadur Rokaya, with ten thousand rupees around one year decade ago. Her heart cries now, not just because her son has gone abroad, but to listen to him saying "mom" to another woman.
These scenes are seen in a film documentary, Paper Orphans, which was inaugurated at Patan Museum Hall on Friday evening. After the music of musical band, Kutumba, there was an incredible presence of national and foreign representatives from organizations working in children's sector. The film documentary takes us from Humla village to European countries.
Spanish citizen, Rosa waited three years for permission to adopt Kishan as her child. She took 6 years old boy from Balmandir to Europe with the responsibility of caring for him. But Rosa got surprised when she heard that Kishan had parents in Nepal. Rosa with her tears in eyes said "We were told that he didn't have any parents and relatives". Bodoma Sharki, on other side, who is living a very difficult life in stone house, in the bottom of the mountain repents: "it would be nice to have my son on my laps". She says Kishan was sent to Kathmandu for education as they were facing difficulty of food.
This heart touching scene included in the documentary, Paper Orphans, has even played the role of investigative journalism. The documentary directed by Marie-Ange Sylvain, is a joint production of Swiss-based INGO Terre des hommes and UNICEF. According to Joseph Aguettant, Nepal Delegate, Terre des hommes (Tdh), the purpose of making this documentary is to show that there are other ways to deal with children rather than making them paper orphans and supplying them to European countries. He says, 'we are not against inter-country adoption'.
For this, Image Ark Pvt. Limited has captured scenes of Spain, France, Humla and Children homes of Kathmandu. For example, Dharma Raj Shrestha, Central Child Welfare Board (*) rudely said that the children are taken in Europe because there are more facilities in Europe than Nepal. Similarly, when Joseph Aguettant and his team reached Helpless Children Protection Home to know about one child sent abroad, then the manager of the centre, Sabitri Basnet, said to them 'This is my organization, this is my home. Please don't be forceful.'
According to the joint report of UNICEF and Terre des Hommes in 2008, 60% of children living in orphanage homes are not orphans. Another data says that 1500 children are missing from Humla among which boys were taken to orphanage homes in Kathmandu and girls were sold in India.
In 2007 A.D., Nepal government banned intercountry adoption but it was again re-opened, it again started in 2009 A.D. But organizations like Terre des hommes demand a suspension of intercountry adoption till Nepal follows Hague standards.
The local people of Thehe, remote area, which can be reached after 6 hours of trek from Humla Headquarters, say 'Chakra Shahi, member of parliament, took ten thousand rupees saying that children will be placed in an institution for education.' A young man says, 'Bal Mandir is like a business organization. As nice goats are cut\eaten after selecting from the herd, children are selected.' In one part of the documentary, Joseph says this is not only about poverty. He says, 'Parents send their children for their bright future.' The main problem is the lack of public awareness. Such kind of awareness can be raised in local people of remote areas through this documentary."
Page 11, March 23, 2010
Translated by Bidhya Rai and proof-read by the author, Deepak Adhikari.
(*) added from original article
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.