Located in one of the most revered religious areas for both Hindus and Buddhists alike, the Senior Citizen Nursing Care Home, in Pharping in the Kathmandu Valley, was damaged during the 2015 earthquakes which devastated the region. Thanks to the generosity of Alicia’s friends and family (and a few amazing strangers), their wash facility was rebuilt in 2018. This new facility houses their kitchen storage (for food and additional supplies) as well as their office. Since both of these areas had taken up one full room each in the dormitory, this grounds improvement frees up two new rooms, enabling the home to take in up to six more homeless and needy senior citizens.

During Alicia’s first visit in Nepal, she introduced a Nepali volunteer NGO to this elder care center, and their relationship continued after her departure. As a result, the elders have met young adults from around the world as they come to visit with the elders and help out, staying anywhere from two weeks to two months. Because the volunteer organization pays the elder care home generously for hosting these volunteers, this new relationship has brought additional, badly-needed funding to the NGO (Bajra Matrix) that runs the elder care home. This money was used to make additional beautification improvements on the grounds, and provides a small income to the elders in residence.

The work continues at the elder care home. In addition to needing a security gate from the main road up to the grounds, the kitchen also needs replacing, and the entire dormitory needs to be demolished and rebuilt; the roof of the dormitory is rotting and falling in, and the walls are cracked and moldy. GHI is in the process of identifying grant monies that may assist with this massive undertaking.

In January 2019, Alicia met the children from Sampurna Children’s Home, which is located just outside Pharping, when they came to visit the elders. She has suggested to Bajra Matrix and to the volunteer organization that they coordinate the visits of these children during the time when there is an international volunteer staying at the elder care home. As like-minded organizations, they are in agreement that it would provide a great benefit to the orphans to meet young adults from around the world, and to learn about their culture and interact with these visitors first hand.

History

Just 19km outside of the city, spread across the Kathmandu Valley, is the town of Pharping. It is the home to Dakshinkali, the temple dedicated to the goddess Kali.

This elder care home is situated on the Narayan Temple grounds, along with a Hindu Narayan Temple and a Buddhist monastery and temple where Padmasambhava emerged after being enlightened in a cave further up in the village hills.

Supported entirely by community donations and volunteers, elders of varying backgrounds live here. Some have children who live in other countries; others have been put out into the streets by their children. All share the common need for a safe place to live and food to eat. This is where Alicia spent three weeks of her 2017 Nepal journey.

During the earthquakes of 2015, the community came together to encourage the elders to leave their rooms in the event an aftershock brought the entire dormitory down; they refused. The elders said that if it was their fate to die in their rooms during an earthquake, so be it.

While the dormitory was only slightly damaged, their wash facility was badly damaged. This building consisted of two rooms, one with hot and cold running water and a semi-automatic (and rarely used) washing machine, and the other room containing a customary “pan” toilet – a porcelain pit set into the ground with sewer pipes leading out to a collection area.

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Padma, on the left, and Shaha dev, receiving the donation to rebuild their wash facility. Padma is the nurse whose organization helped to set up the elder care center; Shaha dev’s NGO works to manage it every day.