MAHOTTARI, Dec 2: A 55 – year – old grandmother from Khayermara – 5 of Mahottari is increasingly concerned over the fate of her daughter and grandchildren.
Sukmaya Achame and her 35 – year – old daughter, Renuka Magarati, along with three grandsons and one granddaughter have been living together for the past five years. Magarati does not have a citizenship certificate and also without a marriage certificate she has not been able to register the births of her children.
Sukmaya says they are now facing official hindrances and unable to guarantee the education for her grandchildren. Her daughter Renu was married off to Rajan Magarati in 2059 BS at Barthawa of Sarlahi in a traditional wedding ceremony. Rajan died some five years ago, leaving Sukmaya with the responsibility of feeding her daughter and grandchildren. She has been taking care of 12 – year – old Alisha Magarati, 10 – year – old twins Anish and Manish and four – year – old Dhanish.
Alisha is a fourth grader while Anish and Manish study in grade three at the local Mitrata Primary School. The school has been asking the family for legal documents as the children do not have birth certificates.
The VDC office has already informed Sukmaya of its inability to register the births of the children as their mother is not a registered citizen. Renuka has left for India to find work as her in-laws virtually abandoned them and remained apathetic towards her plight following her husband's death.
Renuka has been sending money from India due to which Sukmaya is able to admit her grandchildren at a government school.
School Principal, Kalpana Devkota, said the children were admitted after receiving recommendations from the teacher and guardians' associations and under referral from local residents. Devkota said the children will not be able to acquire higher education without birth certificates. There are more than 14 children of similar status enrolled at the school.
Khayermara VDC does not have a record of such children, social volunteer, Manisha Shrestha said. She assured of collecting the data soon.
VDC Secretary, Jivan Hari Pokharel, said if the birth of a child born within the VDC is registered within 35 days from birth, there is no need for citizenship certificate. In relation to Sukmaya's case, her grandchildren were born outside the Khayermara VDC, which is creating further difficulties, Secretary Pokharel confided.