Giving children a second chance in Nepal

TeliaSonera and Childhood are working on joint projects to improve the conditions for children and young women in Nepal

Today, telecommunication is a natural part of the daily lives of people all over the world. Telecommunications is a big part of the societies in which we operate; this gives us a role that goes beyond just delivering a service to customers. To this end TeliaSonera is a co-founder of Childhood and in September Childhood initiated two new projects in Nepal. Eija Pitkänen, Head of Sustainability at TeliaSonera, visited “Shakti Samuha” and “Voice of Children” to see their work.

  -Childhood does an excellent job in Nepal. Trips like these are of key importance for us to be able to evaluate that the money we spend on social projects is used effectively. We do not have the resources to do this on a regular basis, therefore it is crucial for us is to find the right kind of organizations with which to co-operate. Childhood is one such organization. Our cooperation with them is a safeguard that our money goes to the right purpose and to the right organizations.

 The Voice of Children aims to protect Nepali street children, through prevention, protection and self-sustaining of marginalized families and children.  The Voice of Children also has a re-integration center to bring street children back into society. They go to the rural areas and work with support for the families.They are working on doing this through enhancing the capacity of families and communities to provide care and protection for children and keep them away from the streets.

-I love this organization, they are all local people. One of the men working was a street child himself and ended up in the re-integration center.  He then got the opportunity to go to school and college so therefore he is back working himself in the re-integration center. Now we know where the money goes. The centres need more resources, in the form of space or more social workers, says Eija Pitkänen.

Shakti Samuha is an organization founded by victims of trafficking. Trafficking is a serious problem in Nepal, about 12.000 women and girls are afflicted every year. The organization aims to reduce the vulnerability of sexually abused children and trafficking in the community. The ambition is to raise the awareness of child rights, human rights and human trafficking. Shakti Samuha also works with the goal to increase the access to services and the participation of women and girls.

 -It has been a success story; Shakti Samuha has put a face on the trafficking story which is very stigmatizing in Nepal. These women have bravely come out talking about trafficking, where previously women kept quiet. We can help them to improve their capacity with proper expertise, which is sometimes lacking as they have expanded so fas,. Eija Pitkänen summarizes her view on Shakti Samuha's work.