I am Chinimaya Blon (Tamang), 62 from Dhankuta in eastern Nepal. In my early childhood, I became without parents. I grew up in empathetic feeling towards other children in same situation due to my own life experiences of being an orphan in early age.
One day, I felt piety seeing at a little girl getting beaten by her step-mother. Later on, somehow I managed her to be under my parental care with mutual conscientious. She was not less than my own daughter to me. She was first case of my charity work that begun at home. I admitted her to a nearby school.
As days were passing smoothly, people in neighborhood saw my heart for the children. Those people who were economically poor and with different family difficulties asked me if I can take care of their children too. In a way I felt good when someone trusted me for the wellbeing of their children.
I am a Christian by faith having a lot of relations with churches around the country. In short period of time my work for the children spread everywhere. Some of the poor Christian parents and guardians from Jajrkot and Rukum requested me to support their children so that they can give time for their daily casual labors. I saw their panic situation working day and night just to be able to feed their family twice a day. Out of my love and compassion for the children, I began to accept them one by one in mutual understanding with their parents and guardian.
By the time, the number increased but all the processes were done unofficially. I wanted to make everything formal therefore, proceed for all the legal procedures. Finally in 2011, I was able to register “Maya Anath Ashram” as an orphanage at office of Chief District Officer (CDO) in Dhankuta.
I had no external funding from anywhere to feed those children. However, my daughters, sons and relatives were supporting me with little money that I had been using economically for the care of those children. I had been living with the children in same house as a member of family. And of course, that has also cost my personal comforts and better life style.
After a year of registration, in 2012, I approached to CDO office for renewal of the orphanage. But I was told by assistant CDO that, since I had not taken donations from any international funding agency or individual, it was not necessary to renew the orphanage. However, I submit all the require documents at office of the CDO just in case.
After that, days and years passed without official problems, but all of a sudden, first week of April, 2016, staff from Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN); an NGO working for child rights came for inspection accompanied by armed police force. In the course of checking, they saw some bible in my room as a result I was falsely accused of forcing children to religious conversion.
It is obvious for a Christian to have bible at home, but it does not mean that person is proselytizing. But they did not understand this aspect; they even declared that they would close my orphanage. Few days later, I went to office of CDO and appealed for the consideration. But the CDO himelf answered that I need to maintain basic standard at children home which was estimated around twenty five lakhs (equivalent of 25,000 USD) by people from the CWIN. There was no way that I could manage such a huge amount. I asked their suggestions for the proper solution and they said that they would shift all the children to another home in Biratnagar with higher standard.
On 20 April, I left for Kathamandu with my grandson for his exam leaving all the ad-hoc responsibilities to Chandra Limbu who is a mother of two children in same orphanage and was helping me as a care taker. A month and half passed, no progress from CDO office made regarding shifting children to another home as they mentioned earlier. I sent my son in-law to inquiry; they said that they did not find another home to shift. Ultimately we need to return children back to their parents and guardians. I contacted relatives of the children; some of them were in India while some of them were busy at plantation as it was monsoon time. They asked me if I can refer children to another home; but it was beyond my capacity after already going through problems with the officials. Since they are from far away west of the country, we agreed that Kathmandu could be at the middle point to handover the children. I asked Chandra to bring children to Kathmandu.
On 2nd June 2016 she arrived with all fourteen children. All of us stayed at my grandson’s rented room in Swayambhu waiting for guardians to arrive, it was just two rooms. Unfortunately seeing numbers of the children, the house owner did not allow us to stay at this room. Therefor, for the immediate shelter, I requested Pastor Hari Tamang to help. He had a small church hall, big enough to keep all the children in Lalitpur. It was same compound where few temporary shelters were built to accommodate earthquake affected families during the emergency.
Within two days, we shifted there. The guardians were supposed to arrive by 25 June but on 24, CWIN and police forces raid at the shelter house and took all the children into their van as if they were criminals. Children were very scared with the treatment of the police, situation dramatically changed into the worse.
After arrival of the parents, two days later, we went to Jawalakhel (Lalitpur) DSP office. Police asked me to stay just a night at the custody as a process of interrogations. But guardians and children defended and offered themselves to be with me in the custody. Later police took statement from each of them and forced them to sign on falsely prepared documents. They received threat of imprisonment if do not cope in what police says.
They accused me for running industry of human trafficking and religious conversion. Few days later, Pastor Hari was also brought into the custody for helping me. On 26th days of my arrest, Lalitpur district court referred me to central woman jail (Reg. no. 63-CR-0003) and Pastor Hari was released on bail of fifty thousand Nepalese rupees.
I am accused of human trafficking and proselytizing for taking care of poor children, Pastor Hari is accused of being my helper for proving shelter and Chandra also accused of being my helper.
(Story collected by Thomas Subba, Edited by NepalChurch.com)