HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Did you know that a children’s helpline exists in Nepal? It has existed for a number of years but the majority is unaware. Pratistha Bhattarai, studying in Smith College in Massachusetts, USA also didn’t know about it either till she accidently found about the helpline while doing a research.
And when Bhattarai came to Nepal for her summer vacation this year, she and her friend Sahara Pradhan, studying in Vassar College of New York collaborated with Artudio to make the citizens, especially children here, aware about the existing children’s helpline — 1098 through street art. This helpline has been in service for the last 10 years in Nepal.
Their effort took the form of street art. “Street art is very effective as many people can see it and we had to get the toll free number out there so that people know about it,” Pradhan expresses.
Hence the wall in front of Hotel Himalaya, Kupondole was painted on August 15 and 16 to make people aware about this number. They even collected funds in the USA for this effort. With one end of the wall canvas in darkness, the spiral of the telephone spells out the word 1098 and at the other end you see children coming out through the receiver, free of their fears.
“There are lots of problems with regards to children but people are not aware of the helpline, which makes the helpline system ineffective,” informs
The Children Workers in Nepal (CWIN) and a few other organisations have been running the helpline in 12 districts of Nepal, Pradhan shares. As per their interaction with CWIN, who are running four help lines in Kathmandu, “CWIN deals with lots of domestic abuse along with school abuse and trafficking issues.”
Children below 18 years of age can call the number for help regarding various problems like domestic abuse, abuse at school like bullying, or psychological problems.