What Do They See?
They are the faces of orphans in Kathmandu, Nepal, but also so much more. They have some of the same hopes and dreams of children anywhere. They want an education. They want love and understanding. They want to play and have fun and to someday have a real family of their own. They want to be somebody; to make the world a better place.
Not all orphans are without parents. Some children end up in orphanages because their parents cannot afford to raise them. Others are bought or taken to fill an orphanage that westerners will gladly fund. It’s not uncommon for orphanages to be corrupt organizations run by extended family members. It’s a heart breaker to witness orphanages using and abusing children as their ticket to profits.
There’s a mixture of emotions in a place like this. One witnesses the resilience inherent in youth combined with bewilderment and longing. Amidst the loneliness that can often come while being surrounded by others is also a sense of warm belonging and ‘family’. Such ambiguity. There is happiness and self reliance, yet undeniable sadness and need.
I am forever left with a little heavier heart while also awed by the immense giving hearts that made this orphanage a place for children to love and grow and learn in the face of some of life’s hardest challenges. And the hearty laughter from these children, their many smiles, their pulling together and their wonderfully inquisitive nature will long remain a part of me.
These children have so much strength and spirit. This orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal was run by a soulful and honest organization called Volunteer Services Nepal. Sometimes they managed corrupt orphanages knowing they had little control but their focus was on the health and well being of the children and they worked tenaciously to meet their needs despite the corruption. The food that was given (or grown) for the children was sometimes stolen by the owners of the orphanage.
The young girl in the center of this collage was seven years old at the time. Her little brother with the racket in the top left corner (too little to be at an orphanage like this one) had to go to school with her because no one could take care of him at the orphanage.
Four children went missing at this orphanage weeks before these photos were taken (child trafficking was suspected) and then these two new children - brother and sister - showed up.
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I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
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What greater atrocity is there on this planet than to sell a human life and brutally force him or her into a life in the sex trade or endless labor?
And how dare we abuse, kill and traffic animals in the name of profit... in the name of anything for any reason!