Among the many projects and goals we are working towards, one of them is helping to aid the lives of the children of The Nestling Home after they graduate from high school, and make the transition out of the home. Providing rent money, tuition and spending money.
Once a week, we would like to share their stories, bring to light the trials and tribulations they have already endured at such a young age.
This week we would like to start with twins, Ganga and Jamuna, both 15 and a half. Only 2 a half years, before the beginning of their transition.
Both have given their permission for their story to be told, but ask only that certain names be withheld.
This is the story of two intelligent and lovely fifteen year old girls who currently reside at the Nestling Home in Pokhara, Nepal. They are identical twins who were told that Ganga was born 5 minutes before Jamuna on March 15, 1999. At three years of age the girls were placed in the home of their maternal grandfather. They have no memory of their parents and no knowledge of what happened to them or why they were placed in their grandfather’s home.
When they were six years old, village neighbors saw that they were not being provided with proper clothing, food or schooling. At that time they were moved to the city of Pokhara and placed in the home of a family where they were required to wash dishes, clean and perform other domestic chores. The family was poor and after two years could no longer afford to keep them, so at age eight Ganga and Jamuna were separated and sent to live with two different families in a small village near Pokhara.
The men who headed these families were related and each owned a business. Ganga was forced to work in a small shop selling, stocking shelves and cleaning the shop, bathroom and home she was living in. Jamuna was sent to work in a restaurant where she was required to cook, wash dishes and also clean the restaurant and bathroom as well as the owner’s home. There were times when they were even required to clean up the vomit of drunken guests.
Both children were warned that they must tell everyone, especially the police that they were the restaurant owner’s daughters. Because he did not have enough space, Ganga was sent to live in the shop owner’s home. Ganga and Jamuna were questioned by the police many times, but out of fear insisted they were the daughters of said restaurant owner.
The neighbors and community were told by him, “These are my daughters. I love them very much and take good care of them”. The truth inside the homes was very different. They were belittled and made fun of. When told that their work was not good enough they were hit or denied food. Both girls say they cried all the time during this period in their lives. They suffered from their separation and were only happy when they could see each other at school. At the age of ten the girls developed their own language (think: Pig Latin). This enabled them to discuss the difficult things occurring in their young lives without fear of being punished.
Being forced to work constantly when not in school they were allowed no time to study or have any free time. Ganga and Jamuna say that their teachers loved them and were aware that they were not being fed properly and being forced to work all the time, so occasionally the teachers would give them money to buy food. Their teachers also knew that the girls were not the his daughters, yet they reported neither this fact nor the abuse to authorities, the reason being the money donated to the school for sports programs and other activities by the restaurant owner.
After enduring this life for six years Ganga and Jamuna were found by the local director of the Nestling Home. When first brought to the home they had contact with an aunt one time. Since then, there has been no contact with any family member. In 2013 the girls visited the village where they had lived for six years while on a field trip with Josh Bingham, director of Nana’s House. They saw the restaurant owner from a distance and say it frightened them . Ganga and Jamuna have lived at the Nestling Home for two years and are very happy. They are extremely hard workers and take on much responsibility helping with the eight younger children in the home. They have a sponsor who provides tuition for them to attend a private school and both are excellent students working hard to pass their SLC (Student Leaving Certificate) exams in two years.
The girls are so close that when asked, they cannot identify any differences in their likes and dislikes. Their favorite food is mango, color is pink, and subject is health, while their least favorite subject is math.
Looking to the future the girls plan to attend nursing school because they would like to help others.