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From the Mountains of Nepal Comes Orphan Outreach's Newest Ministry Partner
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Nepal is considered one of the world’s poorest countries, with almost a third of the population living below the poverty line. Many regions in the country are lacking in basic education, nutrition, and medical care. Devastating earthquakes in Kathmandu in 2015 pushed 1 million people into severe poverty due to lack of aid, and restoration within communities has been extremely slow. Many family members are forced to travel to other countries to find work, and trafficking is not uncommon. With few jobs available and a desperate need for money for the basics of life, the buying and selling of individuals for both labor and sex trade is a huge problem.

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Children under the age of 18 make up 44% of Nepal’s population. For these children, malnutrition is a serious issue, especially in remote regions where food sources are limited. It is estimated that almost half of all children under the age of five are stunted due to malnutrition.

Less than 2% of the country’s population identifies as Christian. In 2017, Nepal lawmakers voted to criminalize “forced conversion and evangelism.” Even so, those claiming faith in God continues to increase. Many say it is because of local ministries that offer nurturing care to those who are suffering. Faith, hope, and love are made evident.

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Orphan Outreach has joined forces with National Mission Commission of Nepal (NMCN) to provide children with a safe and hope-filled after-school environment at the Godawari Slum Tuition Center. The children live in the Godawari Slum in Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal - a wooded area resting in the foothills of the Himalayas. Around 300 families and 1,000 children call the slum home. The NMCN program is available to the children weekdays from 4:30 to 6:30pm, and tutoring, mentoring, nutritious meals, and bible lessons are included. Through child sponsorship, financial resources, and operational support, we support the spiritual, educational, emotional, and physical needs of each child. In addition, short-term mission teams offer hope and humanitarian aid to the children and community.

“Nepal has been a country of interest for years,” shares Amy Norton, Oprhan Outreach Director of Programs for Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. “Many of the children we work with at Dar-Ul-Fazl in India are from Nepal and the surrounding area. It’s been a desire to establish community-based work to help strengthen families and break the chains of extreme poverty that can sometimes lead to children becoming orphaned. We’ve been searching for the right national ministry to come alongside, especially after the devastating earthquake that destroyed homes and communities in 2015. One of our board members, Blair Pogue, has been a huge encouragement throughout the process of investigating potential partners. We are thankful for the dedicated work of NMCN in addressing the significant needs of vulnerable children in the Godawari Slum.”

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Last summer, Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris traveled with Blair and Uma Shankardas, Director of India, to spend time with local ministry leaders and the children. The decision to partner was a prayerful but easy one. “The vision of NMCN meshes with our vision,” says Amy. “Not only is the program actively working to care for children and provide long-term services to help preserve families, but it is also diligent in its efforts to safeguard those children from trafficking and sexual exploitation.”

Currently, the children receive meals two days a week. While it helps to fight malnutrition, Amy says the goal is to do far more. “We have seen what happens when children in our ministry programs are provided nutritious meals daily – both their health and grades improve. Our hope is to do the same for these kids.”

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Orphan Outreach and NMCN have been partnering since January 2018, working together to establish a child sponsorship program and define opportunities for church engagement and mission teams. There are currently three teachers in the school, serving 50 children. “Sponsorship of the children will allow them to have school uniforms, educational materials and supplies, and meals. That support will also allow us to make some necessary improvements – there is currently no electricity, and the structure doesn’t effectively protect the children from the elements. When it rains outside, it rains inside too. There are no desks or tables, so the children are doing all their work sitting on the floor. Our long-range goal is to purchase property so that a safe, secure school may be built for the kids. Then, more programs may be added and even more children may be helped. Lives are being changed through education, faith-filled mentorship, and nutrition. Family dynamics are changing too. We see hope rising in Godawari Slum.”

Meet the children of Godawari Slum and become a sponsor. Visit our Sponsor page, click on Nepal, and then Kathmandu After-School Program. 

 


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