There has been growing concern in Nepal regarding the increase in the number of children and infants being abandoned everyday. There are over 60 million abandoned children and infants in the world today and Nepal is home to a large number of them.
Most children abandoned either end up in the streets, in orphanages or as victims of child traffickers. Kale Gharti, an abandoned child, works as a waiter in a small tea shop in the capital city of Kathmandu. Gharti's daily chores begin at five o'clock in the morning.
Eleven-year-old Gharti fled from his rural home in Ramecchap two years ago to escape starvation. Gharti is not the only child working as a waiter at small tea shops, hundreds of children like Gharti are cleaning tables and washing dishes at local tea houses.
Over the years, the country has witnessed a big increase in the number of children who have been found abandoned. While poverty and poor financial conditions have led many parents to abandon their children, political conflicts have deprived many children of the custody of their parents. This is in spite of an increase in the number of NGOs working with children in Nepal.
Stated below is a brief indication of the child rights situation in Nepal in 2002 as reported by the Child Workers of Nepal [CWIN]:
41% of the total population are children below 16 years old;
27,000 children die of diarrhea every year;
There is only one Children’s Hospital;
There is one child specialist to 1,04066children;
Out of 2.5 million disabled people, 5% are children
52% of the population do not have toilets
There are 23,885 primary schools
2.6 million children are engaged in different sectors of child labour
Girls aged 10-14 work twice as much as
boys in the same age group
At least 40,000 children are bonded labourers
5000 children are working and living on the streets
450 pregnant mothers out of 100,000 die in childbirth every year
Annually 12,000 women and children are trafficked to India
34% of marriages involve children below 15 years old
About 100 children are in adult jails.
Apart from poverty, the increase in the number of abandoned children, who later get coounted as street children or orphans, is seen as a result of the open borders between India and Nepal by some child rights experts in Nepal. A recent study revealed that 70 percent of the abandoned children found in 2002 were of Indian orgin while only 25 percent were Nepalis.
However, the government has been accussed of not showing enough commitment towards childrens rights and therefore responsible for this worsening condition of the situation of children in Nepal. There has been great concern that child rights issues have not figured in the manifesto of any political parties so far. The vital issue of child rights has always been relegated to the back seat. This needs to change.
Nepal's law on child rights is called "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR SAFEGUARDING THE INTERESTS OF CHILDREN" which can be viewed at
Posted on 2003-03-05