Home, sweet home

Earlier this year I got to visit Child Haven in Kathmandu for the first time. Some might call it an orphanage, but for the 84 kids who live, study, and play together, it’s a big, loving family. The devoted staff take great care for their young wards’ bodies and minds with healthy vegetarian meals, regular health screenings, sports activities, and field trips.

The Child Haven in Kathmandu offers abandoned and displaced children a loving home and an education, following the Ghandian philosophy of respect, non-violence and simple living.

Keeping the kids connected with the community is important, so they join in traditional dances and local Newari, Hindu, and Buddhist festivals. And just down the road, the children attend Child Haven’s Green Tara School. Green Tara’s enrollment numbers have steadily grown over the years, along with their great reputation. The classes are a mix of Child Haven kids and poor children from the neighborhood, who attend the school and have lunch there but live with their parents.

Child Haven opened its doors in 1992 with nine children. AHF was one of their original supporters and later built Meriama House to accommodate more kids. As they’ve grown, Child Haven has stayed true to their values—and it’s evident in the way they continue to look after their wards once they’re old enough to go out on their own, helping them to pursue college or vocational training.

As we were leaving, a former resident was just arriving to say hi and help some of the younger children with their studies. As I learned, a not-uncommon sight at Child Haven. They have a bond that age or distance just can’t seem to break.