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Illuminating the Darkness: Helping Kathmandu’s Street Kids
DHARMA AND THE MODERN WORLD
By Ven. Thubten Khunpel
My name is Thubten Khunpel and I am one of many Kopan monks. When I wake up in the morning, I try to generate the motivation to help all the sentient beings, just like most of my brother monks here. All of us start the day doing prayers and pujas. During the day, some do monastery jobs, others go to class, and the day ends with dedication and prayers. These are our daily activities.
Besides our usual praying and dedicating, a small group of Kopan monks has decided to offer practical help to some of those suffering outside the monastery walls. We are working to support the street children of Kathmandu.
Every year the numbers of street kids here in Kathmandu increases by more than 500. They come from all corners of Nepal. Some are abandoned by their parents, some come from internally displaced families as a result of the Maoist conflict. It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 street children in Nepal, thousands of them begging for food, eating garbage, addicted to drugs and sleeping on the street in the hot sun and in the cold night. They suffer from exploitation, child abuse and other violence. Uneducated girls are subject to human trafficking and boys are kept for household purposes akin to slavery.
The motivation of our group, Illuminating the Darkness Nepal, is it to make the life of these children more meaningful. We will try to open their minds to a wider perspective and a better future.
Currently, we meet with the children once a month after collecting them from various places in Kathmandu. We give them medical care if needed. We distribute clothes, blankets and medical supplies to the children directly, or their families if they are around. We have started to introduce them to the teachings of the Buddha by arranging small gatherings (not an easy task with children that are very independent and gang based!) We try to show them the importance of caring for others.
To really help these children, they need to be taken out of their present situation. For this we need a house to give them not only accommodation and food, but also daily care and supervision, schooling, counseling and life skills training.
We, the members of Illuminating Darkness Nepal, are committed to helping street kids in Kathmandu as much as possible. We try to give them hope and courage to live a harmonious life in this society.
To learn more about Illuminating Darkness Nepal or offer support, please contact the project through its website.
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- Contest Winners: Deciphering the Guru’s Grocery List!
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Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
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