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Children with intellectual and physical disabilities also deserve a decent life. In BharatpokhariÂ in a mountain village near to Pokhara at the edge of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal is Sasasworti Tika High School. Â Here, 29 children with physical, emotional and educational disabilities live in a small annex. They come from many different areas of West Nepal. The parents and careers of these children brought them to this centre, because they no longer have enough money to support them. Some have no known family. In Nepal disability is seen as a punishment from the Gods, for mistakes made in a previous life. It is a strongly held belief. Children with mental or physical disabilities are kept hidden in houses, locked away from the activities of the villages and the wider community. These children haveÂ little chance ofÂ being educated or gaining skills to help them beÂ independent in later life. Many people know about children with disabilities but do not speak of them. The children can live lonely and loveless lives. Early death can result because of neglect and disease. The children and parents can become outcasts, the untouchables, they have few rights and even fewer people people to speak up for them, and have to beg through out their lives. The children who live in the school are the lucky ones, it is such a big breakthrough, for all of them, because some people are slowly beginning to acknowledge the needs of these children and are doing something about it. These children are being lead out of their hidden existence into wider society. The Nepali government andÂ the education department is supporting the children by providing small amounts of money for food and staff, even while Nepal is still a country of limited resources, and lots of priorities for its use. The children live here all week, throughout most of the year, or unless it gets too cold. They sleep in a small room, that has only beds in it. The girls are separated from the boys. Sometimes in the winter it becomes bitterly cold, because there is no glass in the windows. In the rainy season the galvanised roof leaks rain onto the childrens beds. The two toilets must be shared withe other two hundred children in the school, during the day. At night they are too far from where the children sleep, and there is a risk of disturbing a snake in the quiet hours. Many of the children wake up with wet clothes and beds. When the weather is warm, the bedding can be washed and dried outside in the sunshine. Another small area has four gas rings for cooking and heating the water. There are a few metal cups and plates. Rice and dhall sacksb are stored here. There is little foodÂ for the two meals of the day. Two volunteers for VSO (Voluntary Service Oversees) Lorraine Dodge and Rikie Biesen worked in this school for two years we knew the children and teachers and villagers very well. We both promised ourselves that when we got back to our countries, UK and the Netherlands, that we would try and raise money for these children. We have joined forces with the Dutch charity Milan Bindu Foundation, who have agreed to support us in this project. They have been working in Nepal for years. With your help we want to improve the basic lives of these children, and build sleeping areas, where each child can have their own beds and a small cupboard where they can keep their clothes safe. We want to build a larger kitchen with safe cooking areas and seperate toilets for the boys and girls, with simple washing arrangements. We are keen to work with our local Nepalese workers to improve the life's of these children.
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