Reintegration is a huge part of what Umbrella does – but what is it all about? We believe that the best place for a child is with it’s family and we strive to provide support to the children in their own homes and communities where possible. How do we do it? It’s a long process where our field officers gather information about the child, their village and family. They are contacted, reconnected with their child and invited to spend time together. Gradually, the family bonds are tied and, after monitoring to ensure the situation is stable and safe, the child is returned to their village home. We continue to provide support and monitor them on a regular basis to ensure they are happy, healthy and safe.
Meet Ram Kumar(1996), the eldest of 3 brothers trafficked to Kathmandu during a time of political unrest and civil war. Ram and his brothers, Rajesh (1999) and Sujan (2001), ended up like many others in an ‘orphanage’. Although their family was alive and well in Gatlang, they were presented as ‘orphans’ in this corrupt home where conditions were appalling. The home’s manager exploited them and the goodwill of tourists to make money for himself by presenting the children as ‘orphans’. Keeping the home and children looking as dreadful as possible, he was able to secure funds from unsuspecting donors thinking they were doing a good deed.
Umbrella, with the help of the Child Welfare Board, were able to close down this ‘orphanage’. Ram and his brothers then spent several years in our homes in Swayambhu, before being eventually reintegrated with their family in Gatlang. Almost 2 years on, Ram is happy and healthy at home. A motivated and educated young man, he carries an English dictionary in his pocket at all times to improve his vocabulary. When I met him again, he seemed so proud of his Tamang culture. He wrote this lovely poem to explain his pride and happiness at being back in his village, surrounded by his people and his culture.
My Village is Gatlang
My village is Gatlang,
Come to visit it?
Get fresh air of Gatlang.
Be a best healthy person.
My village is surrounded by the hills.
It look like a heaven.
Visit it and think yourself
You are in heaven
My village is full of animals and birds
They sing a song by making rhyme sound
Lophoporous which is the national bird of my country
It dance in the hill by listening
Rhyme sound of animals and birds.
Land is full of water, soil and stone.
Ocean is full of water
Sky is full of cloud
Sun is full of gases
Teacher is full of knowledge
School is full of students
Community is full of people
But my heart is full of love.
- Ram Kumar (Class 9)