Kumari Project - Nepal
The Kumari Project was established in 2010 to provide a better life for orphans, especially girls, in Nepal - specifically those in the orphanage system from which the founder of The Kumari Project, Arun Storrs, was adopted. The generosity of their supporters made it possible for them to begin addressing serious needs of the orphan community by paying school fees, enhancing nutrition, developing extracurricular programs, and organizing medical clinics.
However, they were only scratching the surface of creating deep and lasting improvement in the quality of the daily lives of these orphaned children. Rather than run the risk of participating in the systemic corruption and exploitation that characterizes many of the children’s homes in Nepal, they are now pioneering their own “safe house” for the children they have been supporting.
Opened in October 2014, the Kumari Project Safe House, located in Budhanilkhanta, provides long-term placement for 12 Nepalese children. Besides providing stable housing and meals, the Safe House offers forward-thinking care, encompassing quality education and physical and emotional support services. The children who call the Kumari Project Safe House ‘home’ have the opportunity they deserve: to thrive in a nurturing, affectionate, and respectful environment, and to be cared for by people who are dedicated to their well being and success.
Why are there so many “orphans” in Nepal?
As a result of poverty and the recent civil war, hundreds of orphanages emerged to house and facilitate the adoption of impoverished and orphaned children. However, by 2009, these orphanages, or ‘children’s homes,’ had become centers for corrupt adoption practices that resulted in the coercion and exploitation of children. For example, many Nepalese parents were tricked into sending their children “to be educated in Kathmandu,” where the children were then sold to unsuspecting adoptive parents from abroad, or trafficked. The government halted international adoption until the country could find a solution to these problems, but, in the meantime, even more children languish in unsafe conditions. There they face abuse, neglect, exploitation, malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and dirty water. They aren’t able to go to school because they cannot afford education fees and lack the books, materials, and uniforms required to attend. These are all examples of the inadequate care that is described in reports like Adopting: The Rights of the Child published by Terre des Hommes and UNICEF.
The Kumari Project Safe House Empowers as well as Educates
Kumari are pioneering a child advocate system. Each child has a trained advocate attuned to meeting individual medical, educational, and development needs.
Reunication and Reintegration Opportunities
Many “orphaned” children have parents in jail or relatives living in severe poverty in rural areas. Kumari work one-on-one with the children to find creative solutions to strengthen existing biological families.
• Regular Counseling – Most children’s homes ignore the psychological trauma that the children have endured. Kumari offer appropriate counseling services and activities for their children.
• Trained Caretaking Staff – Most homes hire staff because they are able to live and work on the premises, but they seldom have the training necessary to guide and nurture the children. The Kumari Project Safe House offers the stability of live-in staff, who are trained in child development and parenting skills, and understand the emotional needs of the children. They routinely commission an independent audit of conditions and care.
• Network of Extracurricular and Support Services – Kumari have developed a strong and diverse network of local artists, doctors, social workers and community agencies to ensure each child receives comprehensive support and educational opportunities.
"Before the Kumari Project came to our orphanage, nobody had ever asked anything about what we wanted or needed.
Nobody knew who we were." -Sunita, Age 12
Kumari means ‘princess’ in Nepali, and the team at the Kumari Project believe all children are equally deserving of such a title, and should be respected and honored as if they were. We’re so thrilled to be partnering with them for the second half of 2019 - check out their website & social media sites for more info, photos and videos.