Many parents see migration as the only option to provide for their family

Children playing in SOS Children's Village Kavre (photo: SOS archives)
Children playing in SOS Children's Village Kavre (photo: SOS archives)

SOS Children’s Village Kavre is located near the small towns of Panauti and Banepa, just east of the capital Kathmandu. The prevalence of child labour continues to be a matter of grave concern in the region.

Girls from rural areas are often trafficked to Kathmandu Valley in order to work in so-called dance restaurants or massage parlours, where they are sexually exploited. Estimates of the number of girls forced into commercial sexual exploitation range up to 40,000. Adolescent girls are also the most vulnerable group when it comes to international human trafficking: often, they are promised employment and a good salary abroad, but end up in conditions akin to slavery.

Countless Nepalese migrate abroad each year trying to escape poverty and unemployment. Remittances from Nepalese living abroad make up nearly 20 per cent of the country’s GDP. Officially, there are almost 300,400 Nepalese migrant workers, but a great number also migrate illegally so the actual figure is estimated to be double. Commonly, the husband migrates and sends money home to pay for his children’s education. However, migrants are in great danger of being exploited and tricked by recruitment agencies. For children, the absence of a parent and the breakdown of family stability can be very difficult.

Thousands of children do not have a fair chance in life

Thousands of poor families live on the margins of society in Nepal, which means that children are born into a life of disadvantage, where they do not have the same opportunities as other children to develop their full potential. When parents are struggling just to provide for their children’s most basic needs such as food and shelter, the children’s emotional, educational and psychological needs are often neglected.

What we do in Kavre

Children in our care grow up with their brothers and sisters (photo: SOS archives)
Children in our care grow up with their brothers and sisters (photo: SOS archives)

SOS Children’s Villages began its work in Kavre in 1997 due to the great need for additional family-based care in the region. After the earthquake in 2015, we provided more support to families who had been affected.

Strengthen families: We reach out to struggling families in the community and help families stay together. We ensure that children can attend school. Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school as the costs for tuition, school uniforms and books are too high for them.

We also support parents with guidance on income-generating skills, for example on how to start a small business, find work or obtain a loan. We work together with local organisations in order to reach out to as many families as possible.

Care in SOS families: Located just east of Kathmandu, children who are no longer able to live with their parents can now find a loving home in Kavre with one of 14 SOS families. In each family, the children live with their brothers and sisters, affectionately cared for by their SOS mother.

Education: Together with children from the neighbourhood, the children from SOS families attend the SOS primary and secondary schools, which provide a solid educational foundation to around 500 pupils.

Support for young people: Young people from SOS families who are ready to move out of home in order to study or receive vocational training can join the SOS Youth Programme. They live together, supervised and guided by a professional counsellor as they make the transition into independent adulthood.

Emergency assistance: After the strong earthquake caused widespread damage and suffering, SOS Children’s Villages co-workers from SOS Children’s Village Kavre offered emergency help – in the form of food, first aid, water and shelter – to local families in need. We also set up Child Friendly Spaces which provided food and day care for children.