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“Excuse me, is that yours?” An elderly voice struck my ears when I was waiting for a coach to return to London from Ramsgate, a coastal town. I turned towards the voice and saw an old woman, probably in her late 70s. She was pointing to a soft drink can next to me. It wasn’t mine. I hadn’t even noticed it in my anxiety that I might miss the bus. So I said no. She then picked up the can and walked away slowly. I was puzzled why she was taking that empty can. I saw her white head and tiny structure moving slowly towards the waste bin around the corner. She dropped the can in the bin and went on her way. Wow! I was amazed to see an elderly lady doing this. What an inspiring thing for everybody! I looked at myself and felt ashamed. It was a really hard punch for me who was just sitting on the bench comfortably without bothering about it. It was a great slap for the one who had left it there. The old lady who is not strong enough to carry away her own trash is here taking care of other people’s garbage. And a young person like me is loitering around doing nothing about it. Is it love for her place? Is it her awareness of clean surroundings? Maybe both. This grandmotherly lady’s act is really an inspiration for me who comes from a country where we throw our garbage out the window without any feeling of guilt.

We boastfully spit in public places without any shame. We throw our trash through bus windows. Keeping our own house clean is everything for us. We bathe, put on clean dresses and clean our house daily, but very comfortably we throw our garbage anywhere. In contrast to our behavior, people from the developed countries not only think of their houses but also of their surroundings. They are ashamed to throw even chocolate wrappings or sandwich boxes on the road. They feel uncivilized to spit in public places. That’s why their country is clean. But in our country, how many of us throw our waste in the proper places? If we want a clean environment, who will come and clean it for us if we don’t do it ourselves? If we think that our government or some organization will do it for us, it’s just a sweet dream. Waiting for this sweet dream to come true, we have already spent decades amid stinking surroundings and piles of garbage in the centers of our cities. Photographers have earned a lot of money taking pictures of the rubbish and selling them to the media. Let’s stop giving them such opportunities. Let’s start removing our waste ourselves. If an old lady can do it, why can’t we?

Source: The Kathmandu Post (November 22, 2013)
Compiled by: Janu Rai

 

Kathmandu, October 10

World Mental Health Day was celebrated with the slogan ‘Mental health and senior citizens’ across the country today.
On the occasion, Nepal Mental Health Network organised awareness campaigns, rallies and free health camp. GopalDhakal, General Secretary of Nepal Psychologist Association said, “We focused on senior citizens this year.”

He further said, “A health camp was conducted for senior citizens at Pashupati Old Age Home. Most of them were found suffering from memory disorders and depression. Their self-esteem was very low. They were counselled and provided psychotherapy.”

A free health camp was also organised in Pashupati area and Kirtipur. Eighty persons benefited from the free health camp in pashupati and forty in Kritipur. Most of them were long term anxiety and depression patients. He further said, “There hasn’t been much progress in the field of psychiatric medication in Nepal. The policies developed are not implemented yet.”

Mental problem is a big challenge worldwide. According to World Health Organization, 450 million people are suffering from mental disorders. In Nepal, more than 5 million people are suffering from some or the other mental condition and out of five mental condition, only one has access to treatment.

Source: The Himalayan Times (11th October, 2013)
Compiled by: Suman Thapa

Last week a report on the ageing people ranked Nepal 77th among 91 countries, indicating it as one of the worst places to grow old.

The Global Age Watch Index, the first of its kind, which claimed to have covered 89 percent of the population above 60 years of age worldwide, showed that Nepal is yet to improve its services in health care in order to create a suitable environment for old people.

The survey, conducted by HelpAge International, an INGO, and supported by the United Nations Population Fund, puts Sweden as the best place for ageing people followed by Norway, Germany, Netherlands and Canada. The United States of America got eighth position while India holds 73rd rank.

Afghanistan, the survey shows, is the worst place for older people. The survey looked into 13 indicators in the four domains: income security, health status, employment and education, and enabling environment. Among the indicators, pension income coverage, poverty rate in old age, relative welfare of older people and GDP per capita are looked into income security while life expectancy at 60, healthy life expectancy at 60 and psychological wellbeing are under health status. Similarly, employment of older people and their education status are looked into while social connections, physical safety, civic freedom and access to public transport were kept in mind under the enabling environment.

We can break down these numbers and view them in terms of programmes aimed at the elderly population. In terms of government services, the retirement age in Nepal differs from profession to profession—58 years for civil service holders, 60 for teachers, maximum of 65 for judges, among others. Then they are eligible for pension.

For those who are not pensioners, they are eligible for state allowances. The government provides Rs 500 per month for people who are above 70 years while the age bar is 60 for old people in Karnali and the Dalits.

“Studies on old age and the security system carried out so far show that living standards often decline for people at old age. Reduced economic opportunities and deteriorating health status frequently increase their risk of vulnerability to poverty as people age,” a 2012 report on Assessment of Social Security Allowance Programme in Nepal reads. “The absence of resources or income sources increases the risk of individuals, households and communities falling below the poverty line due to insufficient consumption and access to basic services. For those who are already below the poverty line, the absence of an income source increases the risk to remain in or to fall further into poverty.”

However, this scheme has been frequently criticised for lacking transparency in the fund distribution. “The allowances have been a great relief to the people. But how many of them are benefiting remains largely unknown,” said Krishna Murari Gautam, chairman of Ageing Nepal, an NGO working for the rights of old people.

Gautam said 21 cases of hurdles in allowance distribution were reported in 2012, which is just a tip of the iceberg. Among the reports, many dealt with the VDC secretary forging signatures of the elderly to pocket their allowances.

This programme was introduced in 1995 as a political agenda to buy votes. This was widely popular and was hence continued. The sum of money has also increased from Rs 100 to Rs 500 over the years. The scheme was widely misused during the insurgency period when the VDC secretaries, who are responsible for the allowance distribution, were never present in the localities.

“Despite problems in implementation, our social security scheme of providing old age allowances has been received well by the international community as it is universal for people above age 70,” said Sangita Niroula, country director of HelpAge International Nepal.

In terms of health care, the government has recently initiated geriatric care centres at the hospitals. This, however, is yet to be effective. Surya Prasad Shrestha, under-secretary at the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, accepted that these centres have not been much effective.

“But the initiation is for a noble cause and we are also new in the area,” said Shrestha. He said that they have been slowly piloting the establishment of day care centres and studying land right issues.

According to the National Population and Housing Census (2011), there are 2,154,410 senior citizens who are above 60 in the country. They make eight percent of the population.

 Source:  The Kathmandu Post (Nepal) October 8th, 2013

Compiled by : Manisha Shrestha

 

 

June 15th, 2013, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Documentary Show

Documentary Show

A Charity Party and the premier of the documentary by Reaping Hope, ‘Youth for Old’; was arranged by R.H on the occasion of WEAAD. The short 10 minute documentary film covers the issues of the ageing population and the situation of senior citizens in Nepal. The program started with the premier of the documentary followed by a Dance party and the video was repeated along the screen in the venue throughout the night.

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Purple colored lights were used to mark the WEAAD during the party.

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Thank you Stefan Heintjes and Dominiquee for helping us out in the WEAAD program and not forgetting Dj Niroj and Dj Raw-Neat for volunteering as the Dj s and Himalayan Pizza for providing us with the venue.

Thank you everyone who attended and made the party worthwhile.We will update the names of the sponsors of the documentary during the release of the documentary online. Keep tuned for updates.
Visit Facebook Page for more photos.

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Meet Kanchhi Karki, (Formerly, Kanchhi Gurung). Originally from Baskharka, Sindhupalchowk and currently residing in Telecom- Kirtipur, she owns a small mobile shop, commonly referred in Nepali as ‘Nangle Pasal’, in Tribhuvan University (T.U) premises. She has been living as a widow for 15 yrs now and currently lives alone in her rented room in Kirtipur. She got married at the age of 26 after which she left her hometown and came to Kathmandu to live a ‘HAPPY’ life in the city.

“Those times were so different”, she recalls with a smile. As they began to weave their dream of happy life, her husband got a job in Himal Cement Factory in Chovar which was, back then, a reputed company.

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After few years, she gave birth to a baby boy and their life was going to a direction they had always hoped for.

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Days passed by and her husband had already been serving Himal Cement Factory for 17 yrs. Everything was going great, until her husband began getting ill due to excessive alcohol intake and probably due to the nature of job he was doing. She did everything she could in treatment of her husband but unfortunately, he didn’t make it. “If only my husband was alive and well, we would’ve been living a lavish life, with our own house and better business than this.” she pondered. Every single penny from their saving was spent hoping for better health of her husband but was all in vain. IMG_6635cBy that time, her son had already began working in the same factory where his father did but the factory got shut down after some time due to conflict with the public of the area regarding environmental and health issues. Later, her son got married and went on to live separately with his wife, leaving Kanchhi alone with nowhere to turn.

Now-a-days, Kanchhi’s mornings start with sunrise and her regular cup of tea with light breakfast. She carries her ‘SHOP’ in her back and reaches her corner of T.U early around 8 in the morning where she stays for the whole day and returns to her room around 7 pm in the evening, after which she cooks herself dinner and eats alone and goes to sleep. IMG_6636ccThis has been her daily routine for 15 yrs now, whether it is a regular day, public holidays or the infamous Nepal Bandhs. While we normal working class people complain about our 8 hr jobs, she works for almost 12 hrs a day and that too, without any complaints. She says, “I only need god, nothing else. All these materialistic things are of no use in the end. This shop is enough to feed me a one- time meal every day and I do not have to get bored sitting at home.”

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During her stay in T.U every day, she gets to meet a lot of people, from beggars to professors. A lot of people come to her shop, especially for cigarette breaks, and among the smoke filled mist, you can find her chatting with people, listening to people talk and giving words of wisdom to whoever she meets.

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As I was talking with her and clicking pictures, she asked, “What will you do with this old woman’s pictures?” I told her that I am writing a short story of hers in the occasion of Women’s Day (‘Naari Diwas’ in Nepali) and asked her if she knew what Naari Diwas is. She thought for a while and replied with a smile, “Everyday is the same for me. Be it Naari Diwas or Dashain (the greatest festival celebrated in Nepal by Hindus) or any other day. I don’t even care about the politics and these politicians,” she laughed. I wondered why she related Women’s Day with politics but soon realized that she is an uneducated senior citizen, like many others here in Nepal. She didn’t even have an idea on which year she was born. She knows about the Old age allowance our government provides to senior citizens but also knows the fact that the hardship she has to go through to get her monthly allowance of Rs. 500 is not worth the effort. She is a satisfied old lady with whatever she has, or say; with whatever fate has written for her. IMG_6647

It’s the great Women’s day today and a lot of SUCCESSFUL Women are celebrated in different parts of the world. Different events and programs have been set throughout the world to mark the Women’s Day. But there’s no one who’ll say to Kanchhi that she is a strong woman who has been surviving on her own hardship while most of other lonely old woman her age and her condition would have ended up in either some old age home or maybe in the streets. Today is also a just another day for her, where she’ll wake up early in the morning; pack her stuffs in a small bamboo-carrier and head out for just another day at T.U where she’ll sell cigarettes, toffees and biscuits to the ones who might as well be attending some extravagant event on the occasion of Women’s Day.

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Kanchhi’s corner

Calling it a Day

Calling it a Day

Reaping Hope. – 2013

Kathmandu, February 11

The Ministry of Health and Population is providing 50 per cent waiver on treatment fee for elderly people at regional hospitals from this fiscal.

The provision will be implemented immediately after the ministry completes revising guidelines for establishment of geriatric wards, said Anil Thapa, focal person for geriatric issues at the Population Division of the Ministry.

Although the ministry had finalized the draft of the guidelines last June, it was yet to be implemented due to the apex court’s decision.

Revision of the guidelines follows the Supreme Court decision to implement the provision of waiving 50 per cent treatment fee for elderly people. Elderly citizens will get free OPD services and free indoor services till a maximum of Rs 6,000.

The division has prepared guidelines to operate the geriatric wards that the government is establishing at Patan Hospital, National Ayurvedic Training and Research Centre in Kirtipur and Bharatpur hospital. Ten beds have been kept aside for geriatric patients at these hospitals.

According to the census of 2011, the elderly population constitutes 8.14 per cent of the total population of the country. Life span has increased due to easy access to health facilities, but elderly people suffer from various diseases and health institutions lack full-fledged service for elderly people, he added.

Source: Himalayan News Service, February 12, 2013

Image credit: Republica

Image credit: Republica

MANOJ ADHIKARI

POKHARA: Over 50 elderly living in a shelter home in Pokhara have been left to fend for themselves after the government stopped providing financial support.

According to Basanta Keshav Parajuli, chairman of the Pokhara Elderly Home, the old people living in the elderly home have been organizing bhajans and kirtans to raise funds for their daily needs.

The elderly home, located at Pokhara-16 Sitapaila, has been running for 16 years and has currently been housing 50 elderly people. According to the elderly home, the monthly expenses for the elderly people living in the shelter home comes to around Rs 70,000.
“The elderly people are organizing bhajans and kirtans to collect funds for running the shelter home,” said Parajuli. He said the elderly have collected Rs 500,000 over the last three months.

The shelter home has also employed seven persons to take care of the elderly.

“A donor has built a medical facility at the cost of Rs 1 million in the shelter home. But government has not even bothered to provide us a health worker for the treatment of the elderly,” said Parajuli.

Mina Karmacharya, 71, of Lalitpur donated three ropanis of land worth over six million rupees in Lekhnath municipalty-11, to the elderly home recently.

source: Republica, December 24, 2012

Image credit: Binod/Reaping Hope

Image credit: Binod/Reaping Hope

An elderly cleaning the ‘Paati’ (A small spot for resting for travelers)in front of his house in Kirtipur.

Photo credit: Kathmandu Post

Ms. Dimakala Khanal, 72, a resident of Chhapiya, Rupandehi, enjoys paragliding with a Japanese man, Kaju Takiwana at Sarangkot in Kaski.

This is the November, 2012 issue of Standing Against Elder Abuse produced by Reaping Hope. Please find the e-newsletter by clicking the above picture or follow the link http://mad.ly/b22b33

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