A 24 minute long documentary on Nepal’s orphan business was recently shown on Channel 4 as part of it’s UNREPORTED WORLD series and boy does the documentary reveal the dark secrets of the orphan business. I have also copied the synopsis below for you guys to read.
It is very saddening to hear and see this documentary but I am glad that this has been showcased and hopefully this will make volunteers and donors (that could be me and you) more cautious regarding who they choose to spend time with during their trip to Nepal or anywhere else in the world. This is also a huge blow to genuine organisations looking after orphaned children; I hope those good ones out there continue to do their best, stay transparent and effectively communicate with their volunteers and the mass. As shown in the documentary, the network of the orphan business is vast and has figures including politicians and the police involved, this is all very sketchy and it echoes the question “who can you trust?”.
The documentary also reveals the name of several organisations including Happy Home, an orphanage that has been taking children to put into their homes (even when the children have parents and are not willing to let their children go) and Bal Mandir, an organisation that claims it was unaware that some of its children had parents.
Unreported World goes undercover in orphanages in Nepal, where they discover that many children have been taken from impoverished parents, and used by orphanage owners to attract donations.
Reporter Evan Williams and director Laura Warner visit Thamel in Kathmandu, where tourists can volunteer in orphanages. There are more than 500 orphanages in the Kathmandu valley. As well as working as volunteers, every year foreigners donate millions of pounds to help orphans.
One former orphanage worker tells Williams about one institution that claims all the 80 children it looks after are orphans or abandoned. But he claims that when he worked there, 45 of the children told him that they had parents. In some cases he has met the parents.
He claims that the home’s owner is persuading poor, lower-caste families to give up their children with the promise of a good education. The orphanage owner then becomes their legal guardian and attempts to obtain their birth certificates and change their names.
Having no birth certificates leaves parents unable to reclaim their children.
One mother who gave up her children tells Williams that the orphanage owner refused to give her children back and she alleges that they escaped only after a brutal beating.
In a poor neighbourhood in Kathmandu a seven-year-old boy tells them about his treatment at the hands of the orphanage’s staff. He claims all the children were beaten on a daily basis with sticks, belts and shoes, simply for talking, and if one child talked they were all beaten.
Williams meets a former US law enforcer who is investigating this orphanage and others. Alongside testimony from children, she has gathered accounts showing that it receives donations from a range of international donors, including more than £100,000 from one charity alone.
Posing as a foreign donor, Unreported World director Laura Warner visits the orphanage with a secret camera. She asks the owner about the two children whose mother the team met, and he tells her they are abandoned children that he rescued from the street. He does not mention the existence of their mother.
A manager in another orphanage agrees to talk to Unreported World as long as his identity is kept secret. He claims that government district officials are signing false papers to make children look like orphans when they are not. – UNREPORTED WORLD – Nepal : The Orphan Business (CHANNEL 4)Read More: Shrawan Nepali’s Curry Without Worry PROJECT UNITED – Nepali Youths From UK in Nepal