Nepali children take a day trip to the zoo

Our Nepali partners, Dirgaheevi Volunteer Group has made it their mission to provide underserved childhood cancer patients with care and support.One aspect of their activities is to treat childhood cancer patients and their families to day trips. This gives everyone a chance to relax, enjoy something new, build a sense of community. During a trip to Kathmandu in October, Krebsallianz was fortunate to participate on one of these outings to Kathmandu Zoo!

The group of 13 children and 13 parents enjoyed a day looking at monkeys, goats, deer, hippos, rhinos, beautiful birds of prey and to top it off, an elephant wandering around the park as we ate our lunch!

We spoke to parents on the trip and heard the stories of their children’s cancer journey. One mother who lived 2 hours outside of Kathmandu has had to relocate to be closer to the hospital. This means her husband and other children must stay at home without a mother and take care of one another. Her husband feels abandoned and is torn about losing his son and wife. He recently stopped sending money. This story is a common one in Nepal. Many families who have more than two children are often divided about how much care an individual should receive. When resources are tight, caring more for one child puts an enormous existential strain on the entire family. What’s more, parents are limited by the number of hours they can work because while their child is kept at the hospital for treatment they need to be there to feed and take care of them.

We also spoke to a single father who lives and works in Kathmandu. He relocated to the city eight years ago after his son was diagnosed with leukemia. He talked to us about how expensive the medicines are and although the government claims that they pay for all of a child’s cancer treatment under the age of 15, he has never been reimbursed nor received any medicines for free. He works hard to make sure he can pay for his son’s treatment. He explains to us how parents have to work together and will take care of one another children in the hospital to allow others to work.

Samir Shrestha, the founder of the DVG group is acutely aware of the need for child care both during and after treatment. This was why he set up the day care centre and hopes one day to open a patient support house where families from outside of Kathmandu can live while their children receive treatment. The families were all happy to see their children enjoying themselves. After the kids ran energetically around the zoo they rode on the rides and took a short boat trip on the lake. The parents thanked Samir and his team for a relaxing day and for helping them with all of his generous efforts.