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RH Sticker

Reaping Hope released this sticker on 12 August 2014 (International Youth Day). The quote in the sticker reads, Today’s youth are the elders of tomorrow; it’s about time we think. Let’s not despise the elderly, let’s have all the respect to give”.

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 Proof of citizenship has become key; yet, vulnerable groups are struggling to get their citizenship cards

Political talk in Nepal is ubiquitous at the moment. Whether at home or in tea shops, whether the interlocutors are young or old, no conversation is completed without discussing which party will win the election and what will happen next. Many anticipate that the first priority will be the constitution.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time in an old age home a few minutes from where I live, talking to its founder and the elderly women who reside there. Already thrilled to be talking to the few grandmothers who were vocal and expressive with their views about the elections and the constitution, my interest escalated when the conversation shifted towards the citizenship issue, old age allowance and its links to the constitution. These women hoped that the to-be-written constitution will have clear provisions for elderly people and that the old age allowance will be given to any elderly person without age bias or other similar limitations.

Rs 500 a month

The sad reality is that out of the eight elderly women, only two have been receiving allowances, while the rest expressed their disappointment in not receiving anything despite being eligible. One main reason was that they did not have citizenship. It then occurred to me that they would not have been able to vote. I was previously unaware of this situation.

Here is a little background about the role of citizenship and old age allowance. The universal old age allowance in Nepal is defined as such: applicable to Dalits who are of 60 years and above, and 70 years and above for other social groups. Every eligible elderly citizen is entitled to Rs 500 per month. To be eligible, each person must undergo a registration process, which requires the citizenship card as proof of identity. Without citizenship, one cannot start the process. In fact, one cannot start any process, not even for a voter card.

When I inquired whether anything had been done to begin the process for these elderly women to acquire their citizenship, the lady who runs the home replied that despite trying many times, making frequent trips to respective places and even visiting the close relatives of these elderly, it was all in vain. “One elderly who lives here has been abandoned by her family members. She is old enough to acquire benefits. I made many trips to her place to talk about the citizenship issue and see if they could help with the process, but I failed,” she said.

Deprived of benefits

The other elderly women were brought in directly from the streets or rescued from difficult situations and given shelter at the home. Such scenarios, where it is no one’s fault that they don’t possess citizenship, leave these elderly people deprived of the benefits and rights they are entitled to. I also found out that a few elderly women had died without getting a chance to enjoy the benefits provided by the state, something they lamented till their very last breath. Moreover, they expressed bitterness and helplessness that despite efforts, officials could not modify the laws regarding citizenship requirements.

This brings us to loopholes within the social protection mechanism that the state has for the ageing population and it reminds us of how obscure this mechanism is. Despite previous research highlighting how elderly men and women have to walk for hours in order to obtain the allowance or how they have to face untimely distributions of allowances, I feel the issue of citizenship is a more serious and contentious one. To be recognised as a senior citizen, there is no way around getting a citizenship card. There are senior citizens who have gone on for years without ever having to show any proof of their citizenship. However, times have changed and identification has become key to all rights, and yet, the most vulnerable groups have been left out.

Categorization helps

If identification is as crucial as it seems to be, why are these elderly people not able to receive it and what can be done to help them? The question in the policy debate points again to whether the elderly people need to be categorized based on their individual situations. For example, as those living with family members, who are supported in every step of their lives; those living alone without the support of family members; those abandoned and living on the streets or in old age homes; and those living with disabilities. Furthermore, such categories can help identify the most vulnerable people so that support can be provided. Moreover, it is also important to understand the role of citizenship in the lives of these elders. That these elderly women were not able to vote in the election as they did not have citizenship is a huge concern, as they are certainly entitled to the right to vote.

For elderly people living in old age homes, the people running the home are like their family. Hence, instead of having to locate a family member or a place where they originally came from as criteria to obtain citizenship, I believe that the state should be able to provide them with citizenship under the name of their foster caretaker. Such a provision can be abused if not handled well, due to duplication and other forms of fraud, but an alternative solution to the one where a family member has to be located needs to exist. If not, with the increasing ageing population, a majority will suffer and be deprived of their rights to social security benefits.

One elderly woman from the home who receives the allowance stated, “I want the constitution to be written and I wish that my friends who are not getting the allowance will get it under the new government.” The voice of senior citizens calls for the writing of the constitution and their hopes are pinned on a new and committed government. The debate between owning a citizenship card as proof of identity as opposed to calling oneself a citizen of a certain country without having a form of evidence is food for thought.

With Nepal’s ageing population on the rise, elderly people form a crucial segment of our communities. Now is a golden opportunity for elected politicians to prove that they have given thought to these sensitive issues and demonstrate that they can solve this problem.

KC is a researcher for Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection at the Nepal Centre for Contemporary

 Research: SONY KC

Source: The Kathmandu Post, (November 22, 2013)

 

In Nepal, although the ageing population is increasing rapidly, the awareness on the issue among the public has not been able to catch up. People are still unaware of the speed of population ageing, its effects, and challenges surrounding it. Unlike developed countries, a majority of the population still lives in rural areas without access to most of the information, and the population with access to such information does not seem to show interest in it as the nation has other important issues to deal with. A major problem for senior citizens in a developing country like Nepal is Negligence. There are no strong rules or acts against everyday domestic elder abuse, rights of senior citizen or any strong development efforts for ever increasing older population.

With this in mind, Reaping Hope aims to spread the information and raise awareness about the speed of population ageing, elder abuse, neglect and violence against older persons, and more generally, about the experience of being old in our changing world.

Please circulate this video to your circle!!!!

 

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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Khandbari

Image Source: Himalayan News Service, February 12, 2013

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.

Image credit: Reaping Hope

Dear Friends,

Reaping Hope has been publishing monthly e-newsletter titled “Standing Against Elder Abuse” on every second week on the month. Kindly find latest issue of the e-newsletter, click the image to get full e-newsletter, or follow the given link, http://mad.ly/2e5853

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

We almost forgot to post October, 2012 issue of Standing Against Elder Abuse. Please find full e-newsletter by clicking the above picture or following the link: http://mad.ly/6a2df2

Reaping Hope celebrated the 22nd International Day of Older Persons with the senior citizens living in Nisahaya Sewa Sadan, an oldage home in Tinkune, Kathmandu. The International Day of Older Persons is observed in different parts of the world with different events and programs. The program, ” A Meal with the Elderly” was organized by Reaping Hope with the help of Mr. Prajol Dongol, an entrepreneur and a considerate citizen. On the 2nd of October, the team of RH visited 48 elderly living in the old age home and spent time with them while also provided them a proper lunch.

The program was started at 9:00 am and ended at around 10:30am, which is the daily lunch time for the elders living there. A regular Nepali meal (Rice, lentil, curry, vegetables and dessert) was provided to the elderly along with additional biscuits and sweets for snacks later. The elderly arrived in the dining hall at 9:30 am. At the beginning biscuits were distributed to each one of them followed by, lunch (Nepali Meal) served to all of them. The lunch time lasted for half an hour after which sweets were distributed to the elderly. The elderly seemed happy to see the care for them and which was reflected by the blessing provided to all of the team members during our time at Nisahaya Sewa Sadan. After the meal, the RH members had a little talk with some of the elders living there. All in all, the program was a fruitful one with happy and satisfied elders and the elders must have seen the happiness of giving, in each of our faces.
The RH team also shot some videos during the program for the upcoming documentary on Elderly issues, which is in progress. Reaping Hope is very thankful to Nisahaya Sewa Sadan for allowing us to serve the elders living there and also our deep gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Prajol Dongol for supporting us with to make the program a successful one.

Some glimpse of the program,

Mr. Prajol Dongol welcoming elderly

Mr. Robin Thapa Magar, Vice-president of Reaping Hope distributing tea among elderly

Elderly receiving biscuits from Mr. Robin, Vice-president, Reaping Hope

Elderly eating during the program

Elderly drinking water after food

Photos credit: Reaping Hope

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