Nepal – May 7 2019

Living with grandmother – a story of kinship care

Like many teenage boys, Sanam* keeps a photo of his favourite footballer above his bed. His choice is the Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

This 13-year-old from Nepal does not dream of a becoming a sports star, but he does want to become an engineer and “build a home for his grandmother” with whom he now shares a one-room, rented apartment in the town of Kavre, south of Kathmandu.

When he was just three years old, Sanam’s mother died and his father abandoned him.

Sanam’s grandmother, Maiya Gautama, was left with the responsibility of taking care of her only grandson.

As a widow with no source of income, it was difficult for her to provide for Sanam and afford school fees.

In March 2016, she turned to the Social Centre of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal in Kavre looking for help.

Maiya received assistance from the centre’s Livelihood Support Programme, which covers Sanam’s education and the rent of their apartment.

The Social Centre also provided Maiya with the assistance she needed to set up her own small business.

Now the 42-year-old runs a stall at the local bus station, where she sells textiles. The business is going well.

“I’m happy to live with my grandmother,” says Sanam. “She has given me so much love and care. I don’t remember my parents.” 

It is still difficult for Maiya to talk about her deceased daughter. The memories are too painful, but a photo of the young woman with Sanam as a baby hangs on the wall.

“SOS Children’s Villages has brought happiness into my dark life,” she says.

“I’m so grateful for the support that is given to my grandson, and I’m so happy that we can live with each other. He means the world to me.”

*Name changed for privacy protection.

Photo by Lydia Mantler. 


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