Games, magic, greetings, joy... Abracadabra!! All that comes to mind when hearing Balabalika Pokhara, the beautiful name of our Foundation, meaning ‘Children’, born to focus its cooperation activities in the city of Pokhara in Nepal.
Balabalika was founded in 2013 sparked by a two-month volunteering internship in Nepal. We happened to meet local children with whom we shared our time in a former children's home in the city of Pokhara for six weeks.
The most shocking thing we could see (however happy, extroverted and confident to foreign volunteers they may seem) was the extreme poverty they were living in, their worn clothes, the monotony of their dal baht, a soup of lentils and rice with vegetables that they ate twice a day every day. Thus we started an improvised and spontaneous fund raising in Spain; our call for support was initially answered by our family and friends... their help was deeply acknowledged, since little money in our western side amounts to a lot there. We bought new clothes for everyone and introduced some ‘luxuries’ in their daily diet, like fruit, fresh vegetables, meat, eggs and cereals.
In an informal way, we managed to raise regular contributions, gradually improving the system to cooperate with these children, and finally establishing a registered Foundation under Spanish law. On our way in setting robust foundations of our project we had to face serious difficulties including dealing with corruption practices in the former children`s home and having to report the practices to the local authorities. We managed to overcome these difficulties through hard work than can be separated in two main steps: step 1, we reported against the former home on a Friday to be immediately shut down after two days on a Sunday; step 2, after long conversations with Nepalese authorities, we were given the children’s custody, which was not quite our proposal to keep supporting the children within their families, however we accepted as families were not ready to take them back.
Now, we can proudly say that what started as a spontaneous action against poverty, injustice and pro children’s rights, is today a reality. Our coordinator Narayan and two young women in charge of the children, Deena and Maya, locally manage the project. They are our hands and eyes in Pokhara, we regularly stay in touch and we are confident and constantly reassured that our action is successfully carried out. Our most recent achievement has been the construction of a new house, where Balabalika kids are living since January 2019.