Kathmandu’s streetchildren are an enterprising lot earning a pretty penny begging. Thamel, the haunt of tourists, is their favourite area of operation, and their business peaks after dusk.
A few among them earn quite a lot, spend it all on food and glue for a high and have no worries. Some among them have pick pocketing as a sideline. But still life is not all beer and skittles for them.
There are some preying on them! For example, the 20 streetchildren who sleep on the pavement of Thamel opposite the Sanchayakosh building are often robbed by drug addicts and the older streets boys who now feel awkward to beg. “Sometimes police come and threaten us and force us to part with some money,” said Kancha, one of the boys. They fearlessly obstruct traffic and beg for money from people in the vehicles and pedestrians alike. They resort to wily ways to target women and foreigners. The oft-employed method is to tell the women and foreigners: ‘Hungry! No father! No mother! Money’. This sob story, very often, moves the target group. At the end of the night the streetchildren of Thamel are richer by Rs 500 on an average.
The streetchildren of Thamel earn the most. In other areas of the capital the pickings are less. Kancha Pariyar, 14, makes around Rs 500 a day begging, enough for the next day to buy him food and glue.
Kancha who is partially blind during the daytime, said, “Since I cannot beg in the midday due to my eye problem, I make less money than others.” He added that for him night time is the best time when everyone is asleep and people coming out of restaurants, some of them drunk, give money generously. Ramesh Adhikary, the richest among his peers, claims to make Rs 1,500 a day. He is into pick pocketing also. He is a hardnosed businessman. He says, “Foreigners sometimes give us expensive biscuits and packets of milk, but we sell them back to the shops at half price.” Showing a scar on his knee, Govind Pariyar said on Dashain day he met with an accident while begging and immediately took a taxi and headed to a nearby NGO for help. Talking about the NGOs, boys said some of them give enough food, some provide free treatment and most of them provide shelter and allow them to move in and out anytime.
In the winter, they often make a bonfire and huddle around it sharing their experiences on the street. Whenever they save enough money, they go to watch Nepali movies in Biswojyoti and Rajana Cinema halls.
With abundance of money in their pockets, they are high with glues and cigarettes on their hands and can hardly think of what would their next day be.
Source: Himalayan Times