Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.

31 Jahre Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V.

Anniversary: Twenty years children’s home Shaligram Balgriha

About 250 guests came to celebrate the 20th birthday of our children’s home Shaligram Balgriha in Lubhu near Kathmandu in Nepal.
Twenty years children’s home
Guests of honour: Udaya Nepal Shresta (member of the Nepali parliament; left) und Gautam das Shresta (president of the children’s home committee; right) together with Sunil Krishna Shresta, the coordinator of NHB in Kathmandu.
Twenty years children’s home
Sunil Krishna Shresta welcomes the guests and holds a speech about the experiences of the past years
Twenty years children’s home
The children and teenagers keep the guests entertained with their dances and music performances.
Twenty years children’s home
The girls form the neighbouring Mary Ward School also present nice performance.
Twenty years children’s home
The photo gallary and the presentations give an insight into twenty years of Shaligram Balgriha
Twenty years children’s home

KATHMANDU/LUBHU-BEILNGRIES – there was an excited and tense atmosphere in Shaligram Balgriha in the afternoon of New Year ’s Eve. The institution in Lubhu, near Kathmandu, was celebrating its 20th anniversary. 43 socially deprived orphans and complete orphans from all geographical regions of Nepal are living here. 250 guests came to celebrate with us, among them politicians, NHB local staff and personnel of chummy institutions, neighbours and the children’s parents.

Every spot of the house and the garden was decked for the festivities, as painters, carpenters and plumbers had been working hard for several weeks before the event. The building was erected 15 years ago and so it was time to renovate and refurbish. The whole premise was decorated with colourful balloons and garlands. There was a big stage in the garden with 250 chairs in front of it. The photo gallery fixed at the garden fence shows photos of all the children who had and have been living at the children’s home over the last two decades. A big hustle was still dominating the atmosphere when the Nepali guest arrived. The children and teenagers practiced their performance for the last time, the young host revised the items of the official programme and several cooks prepared the meal. Everybody had their special task on a special day like that.

Home and family

43 children between four and 18 years are living at the children’s home. All in all, 67 children have and had been fostered and educated for an adult life over the last twenty years. Those children either have no parents or have parents who aren’t able to guarantee a secure future. 24 former children have already started a life of their own or are doing an apprenticeship, respectively are studying at university. Giving the children an appropriate start in their independence isn’t the difficulty rather than integrating them in the adult community with all the tasks of autonomy, Sunil Krishna Shresta said giving an account of his long-term experiences. He is like a father to the children. According to his experiences it is important for the young people to stay in contact with the children’s home staff and to get support from them for at least five years after leaving the institution. NHB pays for the costs of every particular job training or university study afterwards.

Put on a firm footing by good education

The 21-year-old Tsering Dolma Tamag, who had lived at the children’s home for 15 years, described her personal experiences to the 250 guests in moving words. The innumerable and wonderful moents will stay in her heart forever. The children’s home used to be her home and the staff and other children her family. “I have never felt like an orphan” said she. That’s what many of the other children would also have said about Shaligram. She described the time before and while leaving the children’s home as a difficult time when she felt confused and unsecure. Meanwhile Tsering has finished her bachelor degree in hotel management. Good schooling and training prepare the young people for the rough reality in Nepal and are an important part to manage the difficult life in Nepal.

Children, the centre of attention

In their speeches guests of honour like Udaya Nepal Shresta (member of the Nepali parliament), Gautam Das Shresta (president of the children’s home committee) und Atma Ram Satyal (head of the county Lalitpur) congratulated the representatives of NHB and their local staff on their good work over the last two decades. They thanked them for their enormously important commitment which not only the children themselves but a great part of the Nepali population profits from. 

Beside all the speeches, the children and teenagers were the centre of attention. They offered an entertaining and variegated programme with traditional songs and modern dances for the audience. Pupils form the neighbouring Mary Ward School – led by Indian nuns – presented the Nepali anthem and a Christmas song.

Twenty years children’s home

Shaligram Balgriha was initiated many bay the former NHB-president, Karl Rebele. The visit of Christiane Herzog, the wife of the former German Federal President, set the ball rolling for organizing an orphanage in November 1996. The aid organization had been founded only four years before and was thus put into the focus of public interest. Thus NHB moved into the centre of attention and the circle of donators and benefactors was growing enormously. The first home in 1996 was a rented apartment building in Jhawalakel, a borough of Kathmandu, where 14 children found a new home. Soni Shresta, Sunil Shresta’s sister, was a trained teacher and took over the guidance of the children and the administration of the institution, before she moved to the south of Nepal after her wedding.

In 2000 the NHB bought an appropriate premise in Lubhu, which than used to be a really small village southeast of the buzzing capital. There, very close to the Mary Ward Sisters, who have been keeping a school for several years, their own children’s home was about to be built with space for 40-50 children. This symbiotic community has always worked out well since the beginning of our social commitment. The building itself, firm and functional at the same time, has never failed to offer the children a place for cosiness. It was built by the father of Radhika Singh Maharjan, the present children’s home CEO. The degree of damage caused by the severe earthquake in spring 2015 can fortunately be called modest. The reason for such luck may lie in the building plan of our young Bavarian architects as well as the high quality of the construction itself.

The energy supply, in this county sometimes a daily problem, is based on photovoltaic panels, solar collectors for warm water, a biogas plant for cooking in the kitchen and other things like the solar cooker. The biggest possible independence from public supply shortfalls should be guaranteed by these measures. The farming land close by is farmed biologically and should also serve our self-sufficiency. 

Joy about the successful festivity

After the official part with all the speeches, the guests had the chance to get into conversations with each other during a rich lunch. Children and staff enjoyed the afternoon, dancing to Nepali music and showing their joy about the successful birthday party.

text/photos: Anne Oschwald, free-lance journalist