Nepal is a country of soaring mountains, beautiful valleys and subtropical jungles. Its steep terrain and lack of natural resources, however, have destined it to remain one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. In recent years, the Maoist uprising and civil war have lead to an even faster deteriorating socio-economic infrastructure. As a result, children from the impoverished countryside have begun to migrate to the cities, some in search of better opportunities, others merely to escape from their past lives. Most of these children end up on the streets. They become the victims of child labor, subjected to exploitation, abuse and violence.
The U.N. has estimated the population of street children worldwide at 150 million. Along with cities like Bombay, Manila, Rio de Janaiero, Mexico City, Bangkok, and Nairobi, Kathmandu has witnessed an explosive rise in street children, due to rapid urbanization and many other problems. Every year, more than 500 children make their way from different districts of Nepal to Kathmandu (as claimed by the Centre for Child Workers in Nepal).
Many non-profit homes and schools have opened in the cities of Nepal to take care of these children. While the efforts of such NGOs greatly improve the lives of street children, they do not address the bigger problem of children migrating away from the countryside. In November of 2011, I had the chance to visit a children's home that has adopted a very different approach. Set among the magnificent mountain scenery of the Annapurna range, the children's home in Ulleri takes care of those children, who are most likely to end up on the streets of Kathmandu or Pokhara in the future. It is an experiment. By holding on to the children in the countryside, it aims to mitigate the effects of urbanization and to support the fragile socio-economic infrastructure of Nepal.
Camera: Canon 60D
Lenses: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.4, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0
Audio: Tascam DR-100, Rode NTG-2
Editing: Final Cut Pro 7
Color correction: Final Cut Pro 7
For more music: