SOS Children's Village Pokhara

The SOS Children’s Village Pokhara is located in Pokhara valley, to the South West of Pokhara at a place called Chhore-Patan. It is about 3 km from the town’s only airport. Taxis are easily available. Pokhara is the capital city of Kaski district of the Western Development Region of Nepal. It is 1000 meters from sea-level and maximum temperature in summer is 35degree centigrade and minimum temperature in winter is 5 degree centigrade.It is the famous tourist resort, which acts as a starting point for some of the most spectacular treks to the famous Annapurna mountain ranges.Pokhara is also known as the ‘city of lakes’. Pokhara lies 200 km to the West of the national capital Kathmandu. Regular flights from the capital to Pokhara can be a short 25 minutes journey. It is also easily accessible by a pleasant 6:30 hour bus journey from Kathmandu crossing breath taking views of fast flowing rivers and mountain ranges on the Siddhartha Highway.Being it is one of the District capitals of Nepal and second largest town, it has all modern infrastructures of public-utility like, reliable water and electricity supply. And all modes of transport and modern communication services are richly available which are necessary in a hilly-region. It has also very good governmental and non-government Hospitals and Schools. Pokhara has all kinds of hotels, restaurants and shopping facilities for tourists and local people as well.The elegant high snow capped Annapurna range, surrounding cool green hills and the warmth of Phewa lake and people’s friendly nature compel the guests to remember and dream again and again once they have been here.

Our immediate neighbor is a fairly large Tibetan Refugee Community of nearly 750 people who have been resettled on a plot of 188 ropanies (.092 Square Kilometre) of land provided by the assistance of the Nepal Red Cross Society in 1966. The Community depends upon traditional Tibetan Carpet Weaving and by selling souvenirs to the tourists.The children of this Refugee camp attend our SOS Kindergarten and the Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Senior Schools along with our Village children. This intermixing and exposure with the community is of immense mutual benefit to the Village and the Community. Joint social and cultural celebrations have helped to continue in the customs of the past. Besides, the local Nepali neighbours are either retired soldiers or small time farmers and business people.Many of their children too avail the opportunities of sending their children to our SOS schools where our children freely mix and share life together. The play- ground is jointly shared by the children of the entire neighbourhood.

With assistance of SOS Children’s Villages International, the SOS South East Asian Representative, Mrs. Edith Pohl, based at Sanothimi Kathmandu started building a big house which had several rooms on a small plot of land donated by the Nepal Red Cross Society.  The construction work started in January 1975 as an Emergency programme in order to help a group of orphans and abandoned children. It was stone walls with mud-mortar and corrugated-tin roof. After the completion of construction,, the group of  32 children and 4 staff members moved into house in October, the same year during which three lamas offered prayers and ritual offerings in order to bring peace and prosperity. It had three dormitories for children, 1 kitchen-cum-store room, 2 (one-roomed) staff rooms, 1 small office and an additional room, which served as a clinic for First Aid. It was being operated in the name of ‘SOS Hostel for Tibetans’.

In 1982 during a visit by Mr. Helmut Kutin, a thorough observation and a detailed study was made for a full-fledged Village for children and a Vocational Training Centre for adolescents. Once again the Nepal Red Cross Society and the neighbouring Tibetan Refugee Community graciously donated land upon which the construction of 4 new ‘Homes’ began in 1982. Each Home would provide accommodation to 10 children and a ‘Mother’. Besides, a large single roofed (under one roof) house proved of multiple use as a community room, office, store-room and a prayer room. In addition, a house for the Village Director, one staff room and a small house for aunties were built.  Its construction work was completed in February 1983 and started moving children into Family houses in March 1983 after making religious offerings in Buddhist way. By then we have had total 8 family-houses being functioned till 1992. In passage of time, the Village gained from strength to strength, the growing pressure of many more needy children requiring help continued to flood in the Village. Therefore, further sanctions were given for the construction of four 4 additional ‘Homes’ in 1989 in two phases. Once again the required land was made available by Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Community. Accordingly 2 family-houses were built in 1989and started functioning in 1990 and the remaining 2 homes were built in 1993 and occupied in same year. Since then we have 12 family-houses for a capacity of 120 children. The actual beneficiaries are however much larger due to the emergency cases of admissions.

On the little available space of land we were able to construct a ‘Mothers Retirement Home’ and a ‘Youth Guest House’. Its construction started in July 1999 and finished before March 2000 which was formally inaugurated by Mr. Helmut Kutin in April 2000. The ‘Youth Guest House’ is occupied by our out-station students pursuing higher studies or Vocational Studies in India or Kathmandu. These young people come home during their holidays from their Institutes. They live and eat in their respective homes and stay and sleep in their guest-house. Its full capacity is for 20 young people. All building facilities are same in structure with single storey and same materials of stone walls and tin-roofedIn 1987, during the SOS proclamation of International Year of Shelter for Homeless, 2 simple but very homely houses were built for 2 homeless Tibetan widowed families in our locality. It has been proved very helpful for these 2 families.As a token of the close friendship between the Village and the Tashi-ling Tibetan Refugee Camp and as a reciprocation of their cooperation, SOS President, Mr. Helmut Kutin kindly sanctioned and handed over the newly rebuilt ‘Tashiling Tibetan Community Hall’ on April 15, 2000. Village small clinic serves as a community Health Centre for local people.