Itahari is a fast-growing town in eastern Nepal and is situated about 500 km from the capital, Kathmandu. Our SOS Village is located in Arhariya, which is 3km away from Itahari itself.
Its position, at a major transport junction near the border with India, makes Itahari increasingly important as a transport hub. However, The region remains very poor, and an earthquake in 1988 only added to these problems.
Many of the people who live in and around Itahari earn their living as day labourers. This work is a very insecure and offers no certainty about future earnings to those doing it.
This insecurity means that parents struggle to pay for the costs of education and older children often have to work to supplement family incomes. This means that young children are regularly left alone during the day, since cheap child care is unavailable.
The lack of education at this early age means these children have little chance of breaking out of the cycle of poverty that traps their parents.
Added to the challenges of poverty, is the devastation that was caused by an earthquake in 1988 that left many families homeless and children orphaned. This represented a particularly trying time for the region, but for many families every day is a struggle.
What does SOS Children do?
We first started working in Itahari as a direct response to the devastation caused by the earthquake. Our SOS Children's Village officially opened in 1992 and continues to support families and children in the region.
Support for families in the community
Our family support programmes aim to support parents who are struggling, and help them provide a happy and stable home environment for their children. We offer advice as well scholarships to pay for school expenses and a day care to make sure no child is left alone at home.
We also provide workshops for local women to teach them income generating skills. About 35 attend the six-month program at a time and learn skills, such as weaving and embroidering, as well as how to market what they produce.
We provide special support to fatherless families to help them cope with the particular challenges they face. This includes money to cover monthly budgets and specialised support and advice.
SOS families for orphans
SOS families give a loving home to children who cannot live with their parents. They live together with their siblings and attend our SOS nursery and SOS school with over 500 local children. This helps them to mingle and make friends, which are invaluable skills for later life. As they grow up most move into our SOS youth home where they can complete vocational training or go on to higher education.
Our qualified counsellors support them in learning to take on responsibility and encourage them to build strong relationships with relatives, potential employers, and local authorities. These skills will help them to find their feet and be successful after leaving the youth home.
We all need a loving and resilient family to grow up into healthy adults. Please support SOS Children to give children in Nepal this opportunity.