Nepalese street boy bleeding in Kathmandu
One of the most overlooked aspects of Nepal, are the thousands of street children roaming the nation’s capital Kathmandu. Indeed, throughout Nepal there are a vast number of homeless children roaming its streets.
Most of the Kathmandu homeless children are boys. They are quickly taken into the deep underbelly of this complex city. Many addicted to glue, many more sexually abused, beaten, and forgotten.
Earlier in the year I wrote up an article on Nepal in 2011 that’s since been picked up by Nepalese media. If you are interested in the problems facing Nepal, it’s worth a read.
Many thanks to @hayadeen from Malaysia for selecting this weeks photograph
Facts about street children in Nepal
The story behind this photograph
Having been in Nepal for several months during 2007/2008 I had grown used to seeing the mass of street boys every evening in the Thamel district of Kathmandu. The children would descend on this touristy area of the capital as tourists would either be returning from day trips, or heading out for the evening. It’s prime earning time for the street children of Nepal.
Living in West Africa has taught, and more importantly shown me, that giving handouts is the worst thing one can do for street children. It simply encourages more to take to the streets. Yet this is what so many tourists do. They hand out money, food and clothing to the street children.
Perhaps worse then individual handouts are the tourists who try to invest in setting up yet more NGO’s. Many having no real experience with development work in this region, child abuse, nor the true socio-economic problems within Nepal. Whilst the notion of a good heart in helping seems great, the reality is often damaging in the long-term.
Want to help? A visit to the UNHCR office will steer you in the right direction.
On this particular day I was on New Road and witnessed a different batch of street boys erupt into a fight.
Further up I walked by this boy lying on the road. If you know Kathmandu, then you’ll know that many streets are paved with dirt, holes, trash and yes, people. A friend pointed down as I was looking over at the fight.
This boy, with his bloodied bandages, was sleeping alongside the main road at about 11am. A few local people dropped small notes around him.
I asked the tourists back at my guesthouse about the street children they’d seen. Many simply shook off my comment, turning back to their guidebooks and trekking maps. Many more shrugged their shoulders and said they hadn’t seen any.
I passed my camera around to show them a days photographic work on the streets with the children huffing glue.
Over the next 24 hours something quite good came of all this.
Something clicked with me. Prior to looking at my photograph these tourists had not noticed the street children of Nepal. Or, rather had chosen not to notice them.
It was only when it had been brought to their attention, about what was happening, did they finally open their eyes.
It was here I learned the powerful medium that a photograph, and more importantly the story behind it; can deliver to the world.
Discover more great travel photographs
This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, detailing the story behind the picture
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