SOS Children’s Village in Pokhara / ポカラのSOS子ども村にて

-From Midori

What would it be like if I had no citizenship? It is an incredible idea that I, along with millions of others, are accounted for, with privileges and responsibilities, as dictated by the customs and the laws of the country in which I am a citizen. As a result, I have the right to access basic healthcare, to go across borders, to learn by way of education, to choose to work, and to live a life that feels safe and with certain stimulation and motivation to explore new ideas. And fortunately, I live in a place where I feel unchallenged in accessing these privileges.

Our trip to Nepal continues to be full of new encounters and discoveries. In the last couple of days, we have visited hospitals, schools, special institutions for children with disabilities, care organizations for children who are not able to be cared for, for various reasons, by their biological parents and families, etc. Everywhere we go, we are met with the sea of curious eyes staring at and transfixed on us as we speak and play.

Just yesterday, we were treated to a very special performance of a Tibetan song and dance by the children in the SOS Children’s Village. There are some 15 Tibetan settlements in Nepal, and while the borders have been closed for some time for Tibetans to enter Nepal, these communities are not getting any smaller. At the Children’s Village, we were given honorable welcome and greeted first by Mr. Lobsang Gyaltsen who himself trekked to Nepal, eventually was taken in by the SOS Village for Tibetan Children at the age of 6, went on to study in India, and have returned to work at the same SOS Village where he grew up, now as Director. After having performed for his children, and them having presented their song and dance to us, we sipped tea in his office, and he talked to us about the particular children he is in charge of. There are two SOS Children’s Villages in Pokhara, with one being exclusively for those of Tibetan descent. Therefore all the children in this SOS Village were born in Nepal of Tibetan parents, and in the Village, there is stress placed for them to be given opportunities to learn about their heritage and therefore to preserve it. This is the only SOS Village where Tibetan children can be taken in. They speak at home amongst themselves in Tibetan. At school, which is under the auspices of the SOS Tibetan Children’s Village, they speak both Tibetan and English as they learn their various subjects, including Nepali. They might not have the right to education through the Nepali systems, but are given the opportunity to learn through the Village. As they are not given Nepali citizenship nor Refugee Cards (as they would be in neighboring India, for example), it becomes quite a challenge for these children to complete high school, for which they must go to India. Years 11 and 12 can only be taken in India as classes are not being offered within the Village and they must transfer to Tibetan schools, mostly in Dharamsala. The SOS sponsors each child to be able to be educated and also for the bribe monies necessary to get across the border without a passport. Many end up staying on in India for further study and eventually on to jobs to support themselves. In a way, these children at SOS are the fortunate small group who are given similar opportunities of the rights of a citizen in a developed country. I almost fear to think about the larger number of those who are not among the 130 children currently cared for at the Tibetan SOS.

I cannot help but be grateful for the opportunity for us–the Music Sharing Team, from Japan/US, Argentina, China, Israel, and Germany–to be so warmly received, and to be united in the presence of each other at this moment in time. I am an idealist. I want to believe that the positive human interactions are what can bring the connection of friendships, at times not aligning with the political situation, but eventually persevering to bring a meaningful change for our global society and overriding the necessary political conflicts and tensions. Political alliances can only be empowered to have long lasting positive influence by the humanness of the relationships cultivated.


もし自分に市民権がなかったとしたらどうなるのでしょう。一市民として、その国の慣習や法律に従い、恩恵を受けると同時に責任を負う、というのはすごい考え方で、その結果、私たちは基本的な医療や教育を受けることができ、働くという選択肢も与えられ、国境を行き来して旅もでき、安全を感じながら、新しい考 えにつながる刺激やモチベーションのある生活を送ることができます。私は幸運

ネパールの旅は、新しい出会いと発見の連続です。ここ数日、病院、学校、障害のある子どもたちの施設や、血のつながった両親や家族が色々な理由で面倒を見ることができない子どもたちのための保護団体などを訪れています。行く先々で、 話したり演奏する私たちに釘付けになる多くの眼差しに出会いました。

昨日はSOS子ども村で暮らす子どもたちが特別なチベットの歌と踊りでもてなし てくれました。ネパールには15余りのチベット入植地があり、かなりの期間、チベットとネパールの国境が閉ざされているにもかかわらず、様々な事情によりこれらのコミュニティーが小さくなっていくことはありません。子ども村では、はじめにLobsang Gyaltsen氏にお出迎えいただきました。彼自身も歩いて国境を超えてネパールにたどり着き、6歳の時にチベット系のSOS子ども村に保護され、インドで勉強をした後に自分が育ったこのSOS村へと戻り、今はディレクターとして働いています。事務所でお茶をいただいているときに、彼は世話をしている子どもについて話をしてくれました。





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