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Supporting a Heartfelt Cause in Nepal

For many years, a private project in Nepal has held a special place in my heart. Since 2020, it has also received financial support from mutu: The "House of Light" run by the "United Volunteers Association" in Nepal.

House of Light Nepal
House of Light Nepal

Children of the House of Light in a Group Photo from 2010

Around 15 years ago, the late Danish interior designer, Kiki Edel Kirk, and Nepalese native, Ananta Badal, established an orphanage in the village of Lubhoo in the Kathmandu valley. This village primarily thrives on agriculture and traditional textile production. Many families run small to large weaving businesses, creating local apparel distributed throughout Nepal.

Gründung des House of Light NGO
Gründung des House of Light NGO
The Creation of 'House of Light'

Moved by the poverty and lack of prospects for children in Kathmandu, Kiki and Ananta, over the years, created a loving home and foster family for over 30 children and teenagers. Though founded as an orphanage, they never limited their mission to just that. They also supported individuals, families, and communities throughout Nepal. They provided cows, and sewing machines, secured releases from unjust imprisonments, and offered shelter, rice, and counsel.

Read more about supporting families in rural areas in Nepal

Over a decade ago, in 2010, I had the privilege to visit and volunteer at the 'House of Light' during my travels in Nepal. Since then, I've joined the ranks of its supporters and forged deep friendships with the children and the Badal family.

Das Ehepaar Ananta und Indira Badal & Maren

Everyday Scenes at 'House of Light'

The Badal family constructed the house and lives with the children, spread across various floors. While the family occupies the top floor, the children have their sanctuary on the first. They sleep in bunk beds, segregated by gender, and there's a spacious common area furnished with cozy mats, cuddly mutu-blankets, toys, and a TV. The ground-floor kitchen doubles as a dining hall, and a large room at the entrance serves as a study and storage space for schoolbooks. The rooftop, where laundry dries, vegetable beds flourish, and where Chai is often enjoyed, offers a glimpse of the Himalayan peaks on clear days. Outside, a vast sun-scorched field is a rendezvous for neighboring children's games and handball matches. At the field's far end stands a small Hindu temple, my go-to for solace during visits.

Alltägliche Eindrucke aus dem sozialen Projekt 'House of Light'

To me, the 'House of Light' feels like a second home. During one visit, I baked pizza for the children — a first for many. Now, every birthday of mine transforms their kitchen into a pizzeria.

Die Pizzatradition zu meinem Geburstag

Helping Street Children

Besides the main house, the 'House of Light' has an annex a short distance away, offering refuge to older teenagers from the streets. Street children in Nepal are tragic outcomes of societal and economic hardships. Thousands, by estimates, roam the streets of cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. Often fleeing abuse, neglect, or extreme poverty, they are vulnerable to exploitation, violence, and disease. Their daily survival might involve begging or thieving. Education remains a distant dream, and many become entangled in crime and substance abuse.

A heart-wrenching sight in Kathmandu's streets is children inhaling solvents, such as glue, from plastic bags. These easily accessible, cheap substances momentarily numb the harsh reality of street life. This addiction has grave health consequences, affecting their brain, lungs, and other organs, hampering their overall development.

Straßenkinder in Nepal
Straßenkinder in Nepal

Straßenkinder in Nepal sind ein alltägliches Bild

A Safe Haven for Children

Some children at the 'House of Light' hail from these dire circumstances, underscoring the importance of the structure the home provides. The older children take turns cooking for the family, while the younger ones assist, learning culinary skills in the process. Responsibilities are shared equally, regardless of gender - a marked difference from the rest of the country. With Kiki and Ananta's guidance, they are on a path towards normalcy.

Gemeinsam Kochen im sozialen Projekt 'House of Light'

Importance of Education in the 'House of Light'

The focus at 'House of Light' is not just shelter but also quality education. Despite improvements in Nepal's education system, challenges remain. While primary education is free in some public schools, quality varies, and additional costs, like uniforms and materials, can burden families. Education becomes particularly expensive after the 5th grade. The 2015 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation, with the earthquake's epicenter seeing 90% of its infrastructure, including schools, destroyed.

Private schools offer better quality but at prohibitive costs for many Nepalese families. Rural areas suffer the most, with limited accessibility and quality. Higher education costs can be insurmountable for many, though scholarships and subsidies exist but are limited. Thus, for many families, quality education remains elusive.

At the 'House of Light', evenings are dedicated to homework. This isn't just for its residents but also for village children, whose parents work the fields and cannot assist with their studies.

Hausaufgabenbetreuung im House of Light

Today, many children from the 'House of Light' are either in secondary education, vocational training, university, or have started their families.

We are immensely proud of their achievements and extend our gratitude to all supporters and the #mutucommunity.


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