Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972
Kathmandu Childern's Communication — An Exercise in Preventive Charity
Kathmandu Childern's Communication
An Exercise in Preventive Charity
It was 8p.m. on a warm night in downtown Kath-mandu, and we had just torn ourselves away from a Chinese restaurant, our bellies full and our wallets not much emptier than before we ate. We noticed a group of people gathered to read a blackboard notice that a lanky-long-hair was propping against a wall. With the European were a couple of ragged but clean and smiling Nepali kids who quickly spotted us and came over to try and wheedle "one rupees" out of us. The notice reads: "Children's Commune: To-day's menu -Pancakes with Jam or Honey "Our of curiosity, (certainly not hunger), we asked the way. It turned out to he right upstairs above the Chinese restaurant. Upon arrival we found two other guys and one woman cooking and lending about a dozen Nepali kids who were drawing on blackboards, reading, playing. As we ate. (yeah - the pancakes smelt too good to resist), we heard the story of the Children's Commune and how it was born.
Two of the founders of the Commune, Robert Casola and Istran Kalocsay, arrived in Kathmandu in Mid-Winter, and like many other Europeans before them, they found themselves the centre of attention for the city's beggars, most of whom are children who have simply been abandoned. It gets bloody cold in Kathmandu in the Winter,' and these kids were suffering more than most because they had no shoes, no blankets, very little food, and even less sympathy from the general populace. For some reason the Nepalese, who really adore their own kids, don 't want to have anything to do with orphans and beggars. So Robert and Istran spent all their money buying blankets, cooking utensils and food for as many as they could provide for. The kids promply sold the blankets and utensils in order to buy more food, so Istran and Robert realised that if they wanted to help the kids on a long-term basis they would have to find somewhere to house them and watch over them, give them a permanent source of guidance, and, most important of all, give them love and care which no one else would give. A house has been found and there is even hope of getting quite a large house in a village not far from the city. At the same time other passing travellers have been generous in their gifts of money and clothing, both of which most can ill spare themselves. But perhaps the most promising result of the efforts of these people is that a few hippies should be making the bureaucracy, which exists even in Kathmandu, aware of the plight of the street kids. Robert and Istran have written several letters to the local English language paper and the cause has been taken up by the native liberals. There is bound to be a time-lag between liberal/hippie pressure on the Nepalese govt., and effective action by the latter, so what is asked of you, the reader, is a donation to help keep the Commune alive until officialdom pulls its finger out. Remember that Winter is only a couple of months away in Nepal; remember too that as little as 10 cents keeps a kid fed for a day, and a little more will keep him housed and warm. Money for the Commune can be left at the Salient office, or will be collected at Forum; it will be sent in the form of registered British Postal Orders so that it cannot be ripped off. Just a small donation from you wilt go a long way and to the intended people. Please help!