Horac Orphanage, Nepal

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Namaste dear readers.

A little bit over a month ago I visited the beautiful country of Nepal. I stayed in Nepal for a month – I went trekking in the Annapurna region, I visited the religious sites, shared Dal Bhat with locals, celebrated the colourful Holi Festival with thousands at Durbar Square, visited a few more sites, climbed a few more stairs and I went to a small orphanage.

Horac Orphanage

The visit to Horac Orphanage was never part of my travel plan, but as a solo traveller you meet other travellers and before you know it you get a new travel plan.

One moment I said “yes” to a fellow traveller from Taiwan and the next moment I was in a taxi on a bumpy ride with cars coming from all directions, in the middle of Kathmandu, on my way to Horac Orphanage.

The kids at Horac Orphanage welcomed us with choreographed dances. What seemed like “a special performance for the visitors” at first, quickly turned into something that opened the door to the joyous hearts of these Nepali kids; they were not putting on a show, they danced because they LOVED to dance. The dancing never stopped. Young and old joined in. At one point they tried to teach us a few moves and at another point we were just jumping up and down.

The room overflowed with joy and I’ve never experienced so much joy in such a short time.

I’ve never seen kids, with so little, so happy.

I’ve never been so humbled. 

Horac Orphanage, nepal, kathmandu, orphanage

But then the earthquake hit Nepal.

And I can’t help to wonder. Are they still smiling? Are they still happy? Do they still dance?

These kids were once homeless and now they are homeless again.

News from Horac Orphanage

After receiving news from the orphanage, I’m happy to say that no one got hurt. But they are sleeping outside in a make shift tent because the house is not safe. They need a new home. They don’t know how long their food will last. There are still aftershocks. The kids are scared. They need basic materials. They need help.

Travelling has brought so much magic into my live that I feel the need to give something back and spread awareness. I’m sure those who have travelled and those who have been touch by a country understand this kind of “magic”.

I’m only one person. Maybe one donation to Horac Orphange will buy them food for a few more days. But with another donation they might have food for a whole week. And with a few more donations they will be okay for longer and they’ll be able to live in a home again and they’ll be safe.

Horac Orphange has never been funded by the Government and they rely solely on the financial and physical support of volunteers and people in their community. Even the tiniest donation will make a big difference to the lives of these children.

I stayed in Nepal for a month. The sites I once visited are now just piles of rubble. The temples and old royal cities are gone. The things that generated an income disappeared. The villages can’t be reached. The strangers that became friends are barely making it through the day. The whereabouts of some is still unknown. The kids that were once happily dancing are now scarily sleeping outside.

The details or Horac Orphanage can be found at www.horac.org (donations can be made via PayPal to Horac).

The tiniest donation might make the biggest difference.

Additional Information

A shocking truth is also present during Nepal’s time of need. It’s the perfect time for human traffickers (also known as stupid people) to be stupid and exploit the orphans of Nepal.

Read the following from outbounding.org, written by Sallie from the award-winning volunteer organisation People and Places.

Many volunteer sending organisations will be offering this opportunity right now – it will be so tempting – but it’s virtually impossible to know if orphanages are reputable and not businesses set up to exploit the “orphans” of the earthquake.

Martin Punaks of Next Generation Nepal (an NGO on the ground in Nepal that works to reunite trafficked children with their families) warns:

“The earthquake in Nepal has affected nearly 2 million children. At NGN we believe we could be heading for another catastrophe – we are seeing warning signs that hundreds if not thousands of children could be trafficked to ‘orphanages’ in Kathmandu. They will be used as profit making tools to raise funds from well-meaning foreigners who want to help the relief work, and denied the chance to grow up with their families. We need to act NOW to stop this! The task is huge and we need every rupee we can get. If you can something to these children avoid a childhood of exploitation, please consider supporting us. Thank you.”
I am a member of the steering committee for an initiative- one of whose aims is to educate potential volunteers on the perils of volunteering in orphanages – you can see a precis of our work here.
The aim of the project is to reduce the practice of volunteering in residential care, and enable more resources and support to be directed towards more positive models of care.
Martin Punaks of Next Generation Nepal is also a steering committee member – we all have grave concerns that the earthquake in Nepal will be seen as a business opportunity for unscrupulous “entrepreneurs” in Nepal – who will “buy” children from economically poor families and then use them to attract volunteer traveller dollars – it’s happening now – it will only get worse – we really need the help of anyone with a platform to stop this.
If you need my input please do email me at sallie@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk
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Going Somewhere Slowly Say:

I’ve met the kids and organisers personally at Horac Orphanage and can assure you that above-mentioned information is not applicable to them.
But unfortunately the ugly truth is applicable to other cases. If you want to donate or help a cause, do your homework first! There are several helpful articles on outbouding.org with regards to the situation in Nepal. 

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