There are 5,000 street children drifting through Kathmandu, a number swollen by 1,000 every year. Most have no shelter, no means of support,no hope. They are called, ironically, ‘survivors.’ Most are runaways or orphans. Some are abandoned. All are desperate. Products of poverty, the rural exodus to the cities.
Katja House, the name of the Foundation’s hostel, has room for a mere 60 ‘survivors.’
It’s no easy task to decide who receives this opportunity of, literally, a lifetime.
The first 9 kids were selected ad hoc in April 2000 and it’s worked out well. We have added only 1 or 2 new faces each month, so integration is slow and organic, to maintain the friendly, caring atmosphere the hostel needs. By 2002 Katja House was full.
Recommendations are vetted initially by the local Trustees and then endorsed by all Trustees.
We have a full home of 52 children at Katja House. Their ages range from 4 to 18. They are all making excellent progress as members of a large family as well as students.
In recent years as the older children complete their high school education and leave Katja House for vocational training or tertiary education, a second generation of young needy children is being established in the Katja House family. At the end of 2013 the foundation fully supports a total of 80 children and young adults.
We are confident we can match the ‘intake’ with an appropriate sponsor. For our intention is to supply the infrastructure, which is in place, and match each child with a personal sponsor or sponsors.
In its recent ‘The State of the World’s Children 2000’ UNICEF advocated ‘the best possible start for children in their early years, a quality basic education for every child and support and guidance for adolescents in navigating the sensitive transition to adulthood.’
Katja’s children will realise this dream.