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Shanti Sewa Griha – Future perspectives for more than 1,000 people

Nepal: In 1992 a project was begun with 13 people. Today Shanti Sewa Grisha unites several institutions that perform social work for people who have no place in society in Nepal; the poor, the lepers, handicapped people, in short: the outcasts. Over time a Waldorf school, a kindergarten, a farm, workshops, a clinic, a soup kitchen and two villages have been founded. Over 800 people have found protection, care and a task here.

In Nepal the opinion that handicapped people are cursed by the gods is widely spread. It was therefore understandable that the mother of a little boy who could neither sit nor stand, never mind walk, was very worried. Her husband had been murdered and she had to now take care of her family alone. She was no longer able look after her son, who had been born physically handicapped.

When she heard about Shanti, she tied the little boy to her back and walked three days to the nearest bus stop. After one whole day in the bus they arrived in Kathmandu. Although she shed many tears when she had to bid farewell, she was not to be disappointed - as if by miracle, the little boy first learnt to sit, then to stand and finally to walk. Now, although he is not absolutely steady on his feet, he can even climb stairs by himself. He attends class three and has learnt to write with his foot.

The oldest part of Shanti is Buddhanilkantha, which lies on the northern slope oft he Kathmandu valley. When the village was founded they planted fruit trees and today there is a an orchard next to the village. At the entrance to the village there is a health centre that offers free medical care for the people of the village and the surrounding area. The Waldorf school is in the village and is an alternative to the very strict Nepalese schooling system.

Sundarijal is the second “outpost” of Shanti, where there is a bio-dynamic farm. The vegetable harvest is enough to supply the soup kitchen (where 1200 meals are prepared every day), the clinic and the co-workers with vegetables.

Shanti began in the temple of Kathmandu on the holy river Bagmati. During the next 11 years a clinic, a kindergarten and a workshop were founded. When the temple was declared a world heritage site, they had to move. A hotel was rented. Then something extraordinary happened. Hape Kerkeling participated in “Who wants to be a millionaire?” and donated his prize money, making it possible for Shanti to buy a property and to build. The clinic and the workshops moved there and the positive development in Shanti can continue.

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