The Social Worker

Sunita Giri 11:12 PM |

There is no doubt that Dil Shova Shrestha is a good social worker. She did open her heart out to help lots of aging and ailing women, mostly abandoned by their own children when they settled down. So many such neglected and destitute ladies from the street have found shelter at her place. And even policemen recommend them to be at her place, rather than they be stranded on the street. She has been running a shelter home, which is called Ama Ko Ghar. For twenty years or so, she had provided them shelter in her own home and shared food with them whatever she could afford. It was not that she had different kitchen and others ate different food. All of them ate in the same kitchen and the same food. For many years, she was doing it all alone, feeding and providing shelter to those abandoned women but in due course of time, more her story got media coverage others started joining her good cause. Due to those media coverage, her work started getting more and more public recognition and her work was appreciated not only by the general public but she had started getting support from Government as well as from INGOs working in Kathmandu. Recently, I have also read in newspapers that one Japanese INGO have been working to construct a new building to accommodate more and more needy people at her shelter home, so that she could continue her generous work without worry.  

But, one news in Nagarik which was published in February this year, dragging her in sexual exploitation case in her Ama Ghar, got all eye in her social work. Although, she was given a clean chit from court this month - May from the sexual exploitation of the the children who stayed in her home but the report from National Human Right committee, did not give her clean chit to run her home for children, because it was confirmed that she used to send many children to the rich people's home, to work as domestic helper. They were needed to work from dusk to dawn at those places. The  rich took work from them until it broke their back and the pay for it was so meager. Besides she also had sent some of them to some of her relatives place which is outside the valley.

Out of 51 registered children who were at her place 36 children were rescued from her shelter home, the very next day when the news made the front page headline creating a huge buzz in the country. They were transferred to another children home called Sano Paila that is located at Lalitpur. Most of the children who lived in her shelter the victims of Maobadi and were from Maobadi hit zone like Kailali and its surrounding area.

Just a couple of days before, there was one more news on national daily, which revealed that the woman who was once was dubbed as the lady with a golden heart, was not that gold hearted at all. Behind all that clean image of golden hearted social worker, there lied a face of a greedy and an opportunist woman, who misused the donation fund by sending it to her daughter who lives in US and making money from those children who took shelter at her place. Some even have regarded her as  national hero But then, when the news hit that she is different behind her that good hearted social worker bigger mass  of the nation were so furious with her.

Needless to mention, this particular news created so much buzz leading to many debate on this matter in all form of media not just mainstream media in the following weeks and.
At this moment, I am reminded of a saying from Warren Buffet, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” In fact, it took her almost the same years to get public recognition for her generous work but her greed and discriminating nature - that children at her place should feel ok to go and work with the rich peoples for survival - is what hit her hard built reputation.  What is the worse part of all this was, it all happened when she was getting sufficient financial support to run her generous work.

In my last post about this case, I have blindly guessed [ before the news of audit was published in media ] that maybe she was having a dire need of finance to feed and run her shelter but the monitoring team from Social Welfare Council’s audit team found that there was sufficient surplus of fund from the last years donations. The total cost of running her home was a lot less than in her surplus fund. Yet, the condition of her shelter home’s was not up to the standard mentioned by the child welfare council for the healthy environment for the children.

Here, I am not going to make it any issue, which is for some journalist here; that she is a christian and wanted all the children to believe in christianity and pray regularly . Here I will focus only on her decision to send the children to work with others home as a domestic helper, that too without feeling guilty about it. This is what hits me more than anything that she not providing clean environment, decent clothing and healthy food and other issues that put the social work under the heavy microscope.

I am keeping close eye on this news because, I myself grew up in Bal Mandir, so I really can understand the severity of the situation and the action she must face due to the flawed in her thinking and making her decision to send children to work in home.

But, what is really interesting is, there is no doubt that this [children homes or other shelter homes] is the place, where we can find all kind of people; good hearted, generous people, greedy people, corrupted staff and obnoxious authority who would not buzz from their age old traditional believe in the name of pride and prestige and also those who would like to earn bread and butter in the name of social work.

Its generous intention and good work evaporates to many and the most needy and vulnerable suffer most often if not all the time. there is no doubt that this is the place where power always collide with vulnerability. Luckily I think I am among that group of few lucky ones, because I came in touch with good people in life just because once I lived in Bal Mandir. In the cases like this, we only read about the bad people and bad intention but the good people wont go after the publicity with their generous work, nor people in media give their work any importance to create the media coverage like the one Dil Shova Shrestha got. She is now known as bad lady and all her good work in the past is forgotten overnight. Again the line from Warren Buffet is still ringing in my head.

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