The dusty streets of Kathmandu are home to countless homeless street children. In the alleys leading to Kathmandu slums, families live under a thin plastic roof, crowding over a small space that does little to protect them from harsh weather. Poverty forces these people into the bleakness of the streets where living each and every day is a struggle.
Poverty and homelessness affect a huge number of people in Nepal. According to statistics from UNDP Human Development Report, 25% of people in Nepal live under $1.25 a day. More than 250,000 people are homeless, and 2.8 million (an entire 10% of the Nepali population) live in slums. With the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal last April, the number of people without homes is only going to increase.
Going to school is often a dream that cannot come true for marginalized children living in the streets and slums. They are prone to be victims of child labor, having to work many hours for their households. Some are even sold off as child slaves or sent to orphanages. Little is done, however, to help lift these children out of poverty. With limited access to education, the children’s future remains dim; they are blocked from opportunities to improve their lives and strive for what they want to achieve.
Poverty, drugs and homelessness could have been the daily routine for Nabin, who is now a well-respected leader amongst children at Life Vision Academy. Nabin was a victim of severe domestic violence from his stepmother. The unceasing violence forced him to live in the streets until Children and Youth First rescued him. With the safe shelter and supportive environment that Life Vision Academy provides, Nabin became a positive young man who is eager to learn new things, from English to sports. He completed Nepal’s notational SLC exam with distinction and is now enrolled in a mechanical engineering program. He’s smart, confident, and eager to help others who live how he used to live.
Before being brought to Life Vision Academy from the streets of Swayambhu, Sabina wanted to read a storybook. But, she couldn’t find any around her, and this four-year-old hadn’t been introduced to the alphabet. Sabina’s parents could not afford to send their daughter to school. Both parents suffered from illnesses, and the increasing medical expenses of Sabina’s mother forced the family to sell their house and live in the streets. A thin plastic roof was all that they could call home. Sabina’s eagerness to learn was collapsing under homelessness and poverty. With the help of Children and Youth First, Sabina can now spend hours doing what she had longed for— reading, learning, and growing.
Life Vision Academy provides a safe, supportive home as well as educational opportunities for marginalized children. We believe that a safe shelter and positive environment are essential for children’s growth. Homeless children like Sabina and Nabin are vulnerable to threats such as drug addiction and child labor. Providing access to education and safe home for these marginalized children helps them unlock their amazing potentials. We are changing the cycle of poverty that limited our children’s futures: we’re transforming it into a cycle of positive change and bright horizons.