Jean’s Joy Girl’s Hostel is one of the projects of ACC opened with vision to shelter and empower vulnerable girls, mainly those who have grown up in orphanage homes.
Mutu came to the hostel in June, 2018. She grew up in the ACC children’s home but had to leave in 2013. This is her story in her own words. It was not an easy talk as she cried while she told us her story. We are so pleased to have her with us again.
My name is Mutu Budha. I am 16. My school’s name is Shree Mansarowar Higher Secondary School. I am from a very poor family in Humla district which is one of the most remote village of Nepal. My father was killed in cross fire during Maoist revolution and my mother also died with illness. I have eight siblings including me, four girls and four boys.
In 2013, I was sad to go back from here (Aanandit Children’s home in Kathmandu) where I came to stay in my very early childhood, to my village in Humla. During my return, many questions were in my mind like What would be my future after I return? What kind of people I will be with? Will it be fun to be there or not? Who are my own family? and so on.
When I reached there, it was an odd place for me. I couldn’t understand what people were trying to say and they also didn’t understand my language. I spent the first night in Simikot, the district headquarters of Humla. The next day, I reached my birth home after 5 hours’ walk. I was shocked to see no road and not a single vehicle over there. I had not even imagined that my house is in such a remote place. Every day, I used to remember Kathmandu and wanted to go back and do hard work in my studies. But due to my obligation, I had to learn to enjoy my situation.
Days were passing. Only one question was disturbing me inside – ‘When the day will come again for me to go Kathmandu, study a lot, come back to my village and educate and develop it?’ I was shocked to see the language and dress of my village people. I could see the poverty through what they were wearing. They were living their life inside the poverty. Though the girls had the opportunity to study, they could only go to school after they had finished their household work. I also had to finish a lot of work before I hurry to school. Even the quality of education in the village was quite poor. Due to no one in my family being employed, affording my education was almost impossible. But because of Aanandit Charity Centre’s help, my dream was going to come true.
In our village, there are no good education providing schools. So I had to walk for 5 hours down to another village for better school. It was not possible to do up and down from my home to school every day. That’s why I had to rent a room in the village down there for my study. The rent was also very expensive. I faced a lot of struggle for my study. I used to cry at night and many times I didn’t even eat food. My life for me was like a hell. I couldn’t share my feelings with anyone. So I used to write it down on paper.
When I had school holidays, I used to go back home and help my family on household work. I used to walk 2 hours to go forest to bring grass for cattle and fire wood. Sometimes it would take even longer. So, sometime I didn’t have enough food and water to eat. Some friends would bring their own. We used to share them with one another and eat a little.
These were most painful days of my life. Because of the family being big and the family members unemployed, it was very difficult to us even to get enough food and clothes. I used to attend Church and also prayed a lot for my life. Finally, God heard my prayer. When I heard the news about me getting opportunity to come back to Kathmandu and study, I cried a lot and gave thanks to the Lord. My days of painful life have come to an end.
But still my friends are there who deserve good food and education. I have a heart to make some changes in my village one day. Thank you ACC for providing this opportunity again and helping me to dream again. My days of starvation (sometime we even ate snow balls putting a few spices in it to cope with our hunger), tearful nights and heavy work without much achievement have passed. Now I can live my life with purpose and will work hard to be a better person. Thank you Lord!
Is it more than a shelter?
Yes, it provides safe place for girls like Mutu and creates an opportunity to receive vocational training according to their interests. Students here can choose training such as: tailoring, beauty parlour, caring for toddlers, ministry work, tourism related work, housekeeping, marketing, and cooking.
Why ACC runs Jean’s Joy Girl’s Hostel
Nepalese law does not permit girls who are 18 or over to be in a children’ home, as they are counted an adult. Many girls after being cared for in an orphanage until 18 are compelled to leave and be with relatives, which brings risk of physical abusive, trafficking, choice of wrong and immature decisions about life and college drop outs in many cases. ACC has already seen and experienced of such situations a few times. Therefore, ACC has enlarged its vision to include this group of people that have been ignored until now.
Moreover, it has also extended its area for poor girls who want to get higher education. Many students come to Kathmandu in search of quality education; mainly girls have difficulties finding a proper place to live. Therefore, we want to provide our service for such female students too.
Enrollment of girl students in higher education is comparatively low. For example, of those who are 10 to 14 years old, nearly 90 percent are in school, but among those 15 to 19, the figure drops to 70 percent. After that, only 29 percent of those from 20 to 24 years old are in college (Central Bureau of Statistics 2014). Our desire is to help such groups and reduce the dropouts.
A bitter fact is more children in Nepal have enrolled in schools in the past few years, but still nearly 1 million children from 5 to 12 years of age are still not in school (UNICEF 2016). Some have never been enrolled while others drop out; and, the number of those who leave permanently increases as the children
age. Our scholarship program helps this group and our hostel will enhance the 18 plus group. This effort will be a tool to get a more educated and active female work force in Nepal and beyond.
ACC strongly believes that the power of education is the main instrument for poverty reduction, psycho-social – social change, and development of individual people leading to the development of the entire nation. On the basis of this understanding we have supported poor and differently able students for their school education, have sheltered poor and orphan children, and have done various educational and recreational programs for children’s holistic development for the last ten years. Now to cover the children who come out of orphan homes and poor students from remote parts of Nepal who are looking for a safe home environment to stay and get higher education, we have started this girls’ hostel which is called Jean’s Joy Girls’ Hostel. Four girls are receiving our service at the moment. We have space for eight more girls.
What’s in a name?
Jean’s Joy Girls’ Hostel is one of the projects of Aanandit Charity but named as Jean’s Joy in respect and honor of Jean Harris and another kind partner who are physically not with us but their family donated 5000 pounds sterling each in their memory for this purpose.