The pandemic is also having a clearly noticeable impact in Nepal. All borders with China and India have been closed. The airport is closed. Except for two hours in the early morning (when people crowd into a few grocery stores) there is an absolute curfew, which is strictly controlled by the police.
The situation is especially hard for people who live from hand to mouth: the day labourers, laundry workers, small travelling merchants, construction and agricultural workers, street sweepers, hairdressers who simply hang a mirror on a tree and give their customers a dry haircut, and – of course – the beggars.
In this situation, the people who live with Shanti Sewa Griha in Kathmandu and are supported by Shanti Leprahilfe Dortmund became active themselves. In the meantime, they care for about 500 people daily - in addition to the approximately 1,000 people who belong to Shanti (this costs about 1 euro per person and day). "Here in Nepal, people do not die of corona – they starve to death", says Shanti's junior manager Bijendra.
Until recently, it was still possible to sweep the parking lot in front of the neighbouring eye clinic and – at a suitable distance – to lay out with patch cushions which the women at Shanti woven in order to then distribute freshly cooked food to the needy. Unfortunately, this feeding of the poor is no longer possible due to the tightened curfew. Therefore, Bijendra now goes to the slums with a special permit and distributes food packages which were previously packed by the Shanti residents with the active help of the children. Each 25 people are given a gas bottle, and the families take turns among themselves so that not too much cooking energy is used.
Since the children are not allowed to leave their homes either – if they do and are caught by the police, they are immediately beaten – Shanti provides them with paper and crayons, clay to knead from the property in Budhanilkhanta and building blocks from the Shanti carpentry workshop. And the tailors from the sewing workshop sew masks – 1,800 have already been completed and distributed to the needy and the police.
In order to help the needy, the Shanti employees collected money among themselves. A handsome 1,000 euros were collected – a huge sum in a country where a normal worker earns 80-90 euros a month. When they wanted to give the cook an extra bonus because he is now already in the kitchen at 5 a.m. every morning to cook the food for the hungry, he refused indignantly: "I have it good here at Shanti, I get a good salary (it is 150 euros per month), my children can go to school here and if we get sick, you will take care of us – better give the money to the poor out there!
One day, Bijendra saw a man ask the owner of a small kiosk near Shanti to give him old cardboard boxes to take to Shanti – where eco-briquettes are pressed from waste paper and used to fire the cooking facilities, as firewood is scarce and gas is expensive. This has turned into a real city waste disposal campaign (the garbage collection system no longer works either). Men, women and children pick the waste paper from the mountains of rubbish and bring it to Shanti – in return for the food. This is all the more valuable as Shanti currently has to do without the waste paper from embassies and above all hotels – the hotels are closed for six months and no tourists can enter the country.
Do you want to help ensure that Shanti can continue to provide the hungry with food? We are pleased about every donation!
Shanti is the Nepalese term for “peace” - and that is one of our most important goals. We want to help as many children and adults in need in Nepal – the disabled, the ill, and those neglected by society – regain their dignity. We achieve this by providing them with a roof over their heads, food, medical care and a meaningful place within human society that was previously denied them. Peace can only be attained in an environment of equality and cooperation.
Shanti Leprahilfe Dortmund e.V. is an organisation committed to realising this vision for leprosy sufferers and other handicapped people in Nepal. The Nepalese partner association in Kathmandu, Shanti Sewa Griha, is responsible for making this vision a reality in Nepal.
This work is done through a clinic that includes an integrated pharmacy and outpatient clinic, a food kitchen that uses products grown through its own organic cultivation and provides approximately 1,200 meals daily, a fountain with clean drinking water as well as various employment programmes for those who live at Shanti. It is also help to preserve and promote cultural techniques like Maitili painting and Dhaka weaving that are in danger of being lost.
Shanti was founded by Dortmund resident Marianne Grosspietsch and can now look back on a history stretching back nearly 30 years.
Young people and adults in all age groups can donate their time and services as volunteers for several months.
The press archive provides a good overview of previous publications about Shanti.
Marianne Grosspietsch personally prepares a newsletter three to four times a year informing current and previous donors about Shanti developments.
Shanti is the largest private German aid organisation in Nepal. It is financed exclusively by donations and the sale of products Shanti produces.
Shanti has received various awards for its exemplary social and medical groundwork.