Certainly parental love and warmth are very crucial to a child’s overall wellbeing. However, not all are lucky enough to receive such affection and care. Hence, to rescue, support and guide those who lack that care, Ama Ghar was established in 2001.
Ama Ghar is a permanent residential institution devoted to provide deprived and disadvantaged children a family like environment with love, attention, nutrition, education and all the other requirements essential for a good life. Ama Ghar wants to enable them to become self- sufficient and confident. Being the only project functioning under the Ama Foundation in the United States of America, Ama Ghar has been working diligently to give every child the best possible childhood.
“Childhood is all about a lot of play along with learning your responsibilities. But, in reality, social problems like poverty and trafficking effortlessly snatch that away from the children. We are here to protect them and provide them a good childhood,” says Bonnie Ellison, country director of Ama Foundation.
Ellison mentions that the visionary founder of Ama Ghar, Shrawan Nepali was himself an orphan raised in the Paropakar Orphanage in Kathmandu. Although he later moved to the United States and went on to have a successful career, he was always committed to coming back to Nepal and establishing a home based on his own experiences in the Paropakar shelter. Thus, with the help of Ama Tika Basnet and Shekhar Silwal, he gave life to his dreams. Ama Ghar currently houses 65 children between the ages of five to 22. 20 have already left the institution to start lives on their own.
A typical day at the Ama Ghar begins with a morning prayer. After breakfast, some children leave for school and others go to college. At evening, they help the household members with the chores. Later on, the children are individually supervised with their homework and assignments. This co-ed house supports the education of the children up to four years of Bachelor’s degree at the university of their choice. But it also supports the dropouts and they are given vocational training and a year of a transition period so that they can at least develop the skills to lead a productive life. The organization, however, does not accept random kids.
“We understand there are many children who are in need of this opportunity. Since the housemothers and fathers here need to provide each child genuine care as if they were their own, it is not practically possible for us to help everyone. Due to this, we only choose children from the highest risk groups,” she states. The fortunate ones who got to reside under the roof of Ama Ghar seem to be very thankful and satisfied with the facilities provided.
A high school student, Rupa Khadka shared that living there feels like living in her own house. The brothers, sisters, and the caretakers now feel like family and she has nothing to complain about. Likewise, another child from grade three, Pooja, who wants to be an Army officer someday said that everything is very joyful at Ama Ghar. She loves the playground the most.
Talking about the challenges, Ellison mentions that the days after the earthquakes of 2015 were the toughest time for them. “The children here have had many traumas in their lives and have already gone through a lot. And, the scary earthquake made it even worse,” she states.
Nonetheless, continuous counseling and guidance for several months helped them recover from the psychological and emotional shock.
With every child growing smarter and stronger with each passing day, Ama Ghar wants to make sure this scenario never changes and they are working on managing the ratio of staff and children so that no one feels left out.