My home yard with my family and Ram dai. Photo by Surya Pd Paudel
I am Arjun BK, 18 years old. I returned to my home village after 12 years away. Ram Dai (Dai means elder brother) found the village and contacted my father. It took two days by bus and walk to reach my village. Things are changed here. My father still looks young, my grandma is getting old. My father remarried and has a daughter. My uncles and aunties look older but love me the same as before. They all are enjoying living in the village. There is a rough road passing through the village. Some things are the same as before. The house, kitchen, sleeping place, the yard, vegetable garden, the village and scenery of mountains are the same. Dhawalagiri mountains are our home village. It is so beautiful. My father has come back to the village. Now I am with my father, grandma, stepmother, and sister. My uncles, aunties and friends are also in the village. My family has a small farm. My father is setting up a grill-making business. I am looking forward to working with him. I love my father and my family. They are all so, so happy that I have returned home. I experience much love and warmness at home.
I ran away 12 years ago from my home when my mother died and my father went to India to find a job. I was with my grandma but I was sad not having my parents with me. Finally, I landed on the streets of Pokhara and found a way to survive by begging at first. I faced many problems living on the street but gradually adapted to street culture. I slept on the street with other street fellows. Living on the street, I was exposed to smoking, drinking and the use of drugs. I had two street dogs to sleep with and I cared for them too. We fight a lot with street fellows, sometimes with no reason. Street culture was violent culture – stealing, beating small ones, robbing are all very common for us. Sometimes I worked at a construction site.
Fellow friends living together at the Centre photo by Surya pd Paudel
Farewell from the centre for going home. Arjun is the left side-tallest one . Photo by Ram Chandra Paudel.
I was rescued from the streets of Pokhara on 29th March 2020 and was sheltered at the Street Children Rehabilitation Centre managed by CHILDREN-Nepal since then. When I was rescued, I was sick and hungry. After the rescue, I was provided food and brought to the doctor to check my health condition. At the Centre, I had a bed to sleep on, food to eat, sport materials to play and scheduled activities for fun and study. We were 18 friends rescued from the streets of Pokhara and we were living together. I was the eldest one among them. We received so much love and care provided by the social workers including Ram Dai , he encouraged me to think about my future life. He and his friends Ramesh, Sharada, Surya facilitated many activities about how to release the pain, sorrows and be bold and strong inside. From the beginning I was given a name Ashal (good) Arjun which helped me to be friendly towards the people living together, care for small children at the centre and be helpful in events and activities. When I was sharing violent stories I cried a lot, but it helped me to release my tension and stress. Ram has shared lots of stories from his childhood -his difficulties and how he has coped with them. His stories are similar to my stories. I really connected with him and learned a lot from him about imagining my future life. So I decided to go back to my home village and live with my family.
I sincerely thank Ram Dai and his team who helped me to shape my future.
Gathering activity at the centre sharing about who I love the most. Photo by Surya Pd Paudel