KATHMANDU, Nov 11: A much-hyped Rs 100 million project of the government to rehabilitate all street children in Kathmandu Valley is likely to take shape now.
The Centre for Child Welfare Board (CCWB)´s three-year-old concept, which had been in limbo following a budget deficit at the board, is to begin the process of rehabilitating all street children in the Valley through a package program of education and skill development.
According to Sher Jung Karki, acting executive director of CCWB, the board will do a survey with the involvement of various governmental and non-government organizations to find out the exact number of street children. The government claims that there are 700 street children in the Valley whereas the NGOs assert that at least 4,000 juveniles below 16 live in the streets of the Valley alone.
“We believe that neither the government nor the NGOs have produced correct data; so a fresh survey will be conducted in January as our minister and secretary are both committed to completing the plan this time,” said Karki.
CCWB has to arrange for the proper settlement of all the street children. “This will just remain speculation unless we settle all the children and compile their details,” he added.
In the first phase, the children will receive counseling, and under a rehabilitation process for children who have parents and family, education and vocational training will be provided as per their own interests. “Children without guardians will also be ensured education and skill development opportunities phase-wise as per their choices so that they would not return to the streets again,” informed the CCWB chief.
The autonomous body formed under the Child Rights Act in 1990 was lying virtually defunct for a long time, unable to accomplish a single program to address the pathetic condition of street children.
“Over the years, CCWB has only functioned as a body for advising NGOs and INGOs in running their pet projects in the name of children´s welfare,” said Karki, an under-secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare temporarily deputed to CCWB due to delay in the political appointment of its executive director.
There is heightened hope of completing the rehabilitation plan this time as several other government bodies such as Nepal Tourism Board and the municipalities of the Valley have also expressed interest.
An NGO named DOCS, which has already helped Hetauda municipality declare itself street children-free, has also shown interest in working in the rehabilitation process under public partnership, the CCWB official said.