Asia West Pacific

Cultures of Peace with Child Welfare Nepal (CWN), Hetauda

By Subhash Chandra

Children too love peace. A group of children we support whom I met in a village during my field visit. Photo by Kedar. 

Child Welfare Nepal (CWN) is a non-governmental organization located in Hetauda of Makawanpur district, about four hours’ drive away from Kathmandu, Nepal. CWN’s main objective is to reduce child trafficking and child labour in the district as it is one of the most vulnerable areas in the country. CWN has many activities; they:

  • Run residential vocational trainings to the marginalized, poorest, school dropped out young girls from the remote villages where there is high risk of girls trafficking. 
  • Conduct anti-trafficking, gender equality and health/hygiene awareness programs with parents.
  • Provide livelihood support to the families with extreme basic needs. 
  • Offer educational support to the children in the most remote public schools of Makawanpur, who otherwise may drop out because of lack of resources to afford school books, bag, uniform, stationary and afternoon snacks. 

CWN also runs a foster home called ‘Shanta Ghar’ (Peaceful home) where 22 girls without parents or guardians are staying now. In total, in collaboration with Educanepal, we support about thirty-five-hundred children a year in Makawanpur. I am closely involved in this work as the Chair of the organization. There are several stories of peace practices and experiments as well as challenges around this work. I want to share some of the stories and experiences about this noble and challenging work with the Friends Peace Teams community.

I will begin with the story of Kedar Acharya and his experiment with creating cultures of peace. Kedar currently serves as the Manager of Child Welfare Nepal. He was one of the participants in the first ever CCP training in Nepal in 2018. He also participates in the ongoing online Cultures of Peace Facilitator Training online.]

Kedar frequently visits beneficiaries in the remote village to meet parents and children, and offers educational materials. Photo by Kedar. 

Kedar, in a red t-shirt, facilitating a conversation session with the group of girls who have come for a six month residential vocational training at CWN. Photo by Kedar 

Here is Kedar’s story:

Creating Cultures of Peace (CCP) is not only training for me; it is also a way of life. It helps me to see others and myself with respect, love and care, which is an important aspect in my practice to live a peaceful life.

There were three highlights for me during the CCP training in Thimura, Nepal in 2018. First, know my core self. Being aware of my core self helps me to love myself, it helps to make better decisions, and leads to a respectful and loyal response based on facts, feelings and truth. Second, I am better able to understand and manage my emotions. Noticing emotions, understanding their roots and releasing them from the body heals and enables me to handle situations non-violently. Three, peace is possible when I practice. Practice is the most important aspect of living peace.

I believe that every dispute can be resolved with the gentle dialogue. Among violent and non-violent ways, I choose non-violent one to handle situations in my personal and professional life. I need more practice so that I can share the tools and experiences of creating peace with others. I decided to join online CCP training with FPT AWP with the hope that I will be able to share my feelings, learn peaceful ways of living and develop a peaceful approach to my work with CWN and colleagues. In online training, I feel that I have more friends to share and learn in building peace within myself and in the workplace.

CCP training helped me to present myself with honesty, loyalty, fact and truth in my workplace. It has helped me significantly in resolving internal disputes. It also helps to build healthy relationships- in family, work team as well as beneficiaries.

I plan to continue to participate in online training. I review and prepare training sessions and assignments. I have begun to realize the value of having a good companion to strengthen my practice and grow together. Some months ago, we organized a CCP basic training for our colleagues and community members at Shanta Ghar in Hetauda. Then, due to sickness, I missed the opportunity to co-facilitate. I hope we will have training in Hetauda again when the lockdown ends.

Kedar, standing first from left, during the CCP training in Thimura in 2018. Photo by Kedar

Happy to be with children, with a beneficiary girl during one of my field visits. Photo by Kedar