The challenges of running an orphanage in Nepal

A small group of Laurier students were privileged to explore a world 11,916 kilometers away this week as Laxman Shrestha gave a presentation about the challenges he faces running an orphanage in his home country of Nepal.

Shrestha prefaced his presentation by explaining the stigma that surrounds orphans in Nepali culture, as they are considered unlucky. If someone becomes aware of your status as an orphan they actively seek to avoid you. This stigma is something that Shrestha personally struggled with, as his wife Laxmai is an orphan, meaning that many disapproved of their relationship.

Shrestha and Laxmai run the Lotus Children’s Home in the capital city of Kathmandu. In 2008, after spending all of their savings to fix up the house, the couple became official owners of the orphanage. It had existed previously under different management, which they suspected was being mismanaged.

Today, their goals revolve around creating a self-sustaining business that will supply ample funds to run the orphanage. Additionally, they hope to expand and improve on the services they offer to children in their care.

Currently, the orphanage is supported by Peace For All International. The organization has a chapter at Laurier, which sells textiles that Shrestha sends directly from Nepal in the concourse.

Shrestha concluded his speech by commenting that even though they have a difficult time running the orphanage, their home is filled with love and the children they take care of are as much a part of their family as their own sons.