Frequently asked questions: Yours might be here, too. Otherwise don’t hesitate and contact Simone directly (see contact)
“Dhoka” means “door” or “gate” in Nepalese. The name is pointing at the figurative door that the project is symbolising for our children and everyone involved – a door leading to a happy childhood and a better future. The article “La” was added for aesthetical reasons, and at the same time they are the first two letters of Laxmi’s name, our Nepalese partner leading the project in Nepal.
All children came to us through connections and relations. Laxmi only had to let the right people (mostly people from Lubhoo with relatives in several villages) know that we were able to host more children, and a few days later we had information of the kind “I know a woman whose brother has a neighbour taking care of a child because it has lost both its father and mother…” As soon as we had such information, we (Laxmi and Simone) discussed with each other whether the child could be taken in. If yes, we tried to gain more information and find out about the child’s location and its contact address. Sometimes it was possible to meet the child at its old home (Asta, Rajin), sometimes we only met them at the intermediary’s place (Bikeash, Anamica), or sometimes they would just stand at our door together with a relative (Anic, Jamunna). Unfortunately it is very easy in Nepal to find children living in difficult circumstances, what with the seven-year civil war and the disastrous conditions of the economy and the political system.
La Dhoka is registered with the public authorities in Nepal and has a social welfare number. The relatives of the children sign a contract in which the responsibilities and the rights pertaining to the children are defined. During the past years the Child Welfare Council (CWC) has tightened up its regulations for children’s and foster homes and is increasingly trying to enforce them. In general these regulations are very desirable, as they stand in for the rights of the children and try to avoid possible misuse. However, the CWC is expecting a very high, westerner standard for the children’s homes that is far from the common Nepalese one. Since these standards can only be met with very high excess expenditures, many children’s homes in Nepal are now being closed down. Each year our project (or rather the two projects, since Narighar and the children’s home (still) have to be registered separately) has to be re-registered, and the respective authorities demand insight into the financial affairs and into the course of the project. This process is very intricate, but cannot be avoided. Due to these new regulations we will not take in more children for the time being.
The children speak Nepalese, the official language of Nepal. They do, however, learn English at the English Medium School they are attending. English is essential for any future prospects. By now the older children speak English quite well, but due to the lack of contact with native English speakers their grammar is still at a very low level. The most important thing, however, is that they are able to communicate and make themselves understood, and they are doing quite well at that.
There are countless aid organisations in Nepal. In comparison, La Dhoka is a very small organisation. It is one of our goals to offer the children surroundings that are as “normal” as possible. La Dhoka is lead by locals and is integrated in the daily village life. Neighbours, friends and relatives of course know about our project, but too much publicity would only create enviousness and malevolence, both of which we do not strive for. For us it is more important to get a strong support from Switzerland rather than being well known in Nepal.
The school system can hardly be compared to our standards. The teachers are usually not very well educated, they are lowly paid and do not enjoy a very good reputation. Those who don’t find work elsewhere just start teaching. Unfortunately there is hardly any high quality, pedagogical training. Furthermore, the schools are divided into public schools (free, but only in Nepalese) and private schools. All parents who can send their children to private schools. These schools charge fees, and they are often not much better than the public schools. The owners usually try to make money with the school in the first place, and hence the profit usually counts more than the quality. Suffering from this are the teachers and also in a wider sense the students, and as a result the whole education system.
In addition to the public and private schools there are countless schools that are run by aid organisations and foreign investors. In general these schools show a good standard in regard to infrastructure and quality, but they are either incorporated in a fixed project or very expensive.
In May 2009 the non-profit association (“Verein”) La Dhoka was founded in Switzerland. This structure enables a high transparency as well as an easier administration of sponsors and members.
We have set the annual minimum contribution to CHF 60. We think it is important that also younger people get the chance to support us according to their means. It is also possible to support La Dhoka as an “active member” by donating a monthly amount of ones own choice. If you are interested see “contact”.
La Dhoka is a small, unbureaucratic project that provides a few children and women in need with a better start into their lives. In case you always wanted to support a project in a third world country, La Dhoka could be the right one:
- The managing board and all the volunteers are working in an honorary capacity, hence your money will be completely inured to the benefit of the project. The only running costs are transfer fees, the printing and mailing of the annual report, and sometimes rental costs for premises.
- With your donation you are exclusively supporting locals – from the village store to the neighbour who made the furniture in Lubhoo to the mother of three who does the weekly laundry.
- If you are interested please contact Simone (see “contact”)