How are the children who are cared for chosen?
At the Sagarmatha centre, the family that runs the centre takes in primarily orphaned children. But it also happens that children from large or very poor families are taken care of. At the Punarbal centre, the children are all orphans and are cared for at the request of relatives.
Can families change their mind and collect the child who has been placed in care?
Yes. Even though all the children come from families that are in a precarious financial position and that can’t provide the child schooling, they’re always free to come for the child. This has happened in rare cases.
Can children stay in contact with their families?
Yes, in most cases, families collect the child once a year – during the Dashain Festival – so he or she can spend time with family members.
What’s the goal of the trips organized for Swiss students?
The purpose of the trips organized for youth living in Switzerland is both educational (to raise awareness about humanitarian challenges) and to raise funds.
Is the cost of these trips covered at the expense of funding for the homes?
No, we make nothing from these organized trips. We aren’t a travel agency; we’re all volunteers. Visitors pay the costs of their own stay (plane fare, accommodation, food).
Does your association have salaried staff?
No, we’re all volunteers. Counting committee members, approximately twenty people give ad hoc or regular help to our association each year.
Who can visit the centers?
Visits generally occur once or twice a year. The International School of Geneva makes trips, committee members visit and anyone who wants to can visit the homes with the consent of the local teams. Visitor interaction is limited to games, entertainment and outings with the children or to medical visits (by professionals).
What are these visits for?
We collect funds for this project, so it’s entirely appropriate that members of our committee, godparents and/or groups of young people are able to visit the project regularly. This allows us to see what environment the children we support are growing up in.
How are the centers managed?
The centers are run by local teams, supported by a Nepalese committee (Board). The homes are under the responsibility of the Nepal Ministry for Social Affairs.
Do you feel the need to intervene in the home’s daily management?
No, we feel that the local teams have the expertise to manage the children day-to-day and that this is their responsibility. However, we do take part in making certain important decisions such as, for example, the need to take in girls and boys.
Wouldn’t it be better to help the families beforehand rather than support these centers?
Ideally, it would certainly be preferable to help the families of these children to provide for their needs, so that the child is not separated from his or her relatives. However, such a rural development or income-generation project is neither in our objectives nor in our competencies. In the case of the Punarbal centre, the close families do not have the means or the desire to raise the child. In the absence of an alternative, our support for both centres therefore seems fully justified.