Chautari Youth Club (CYC), one of project activities of Umbrella Organization Nepal (UON), is a platform where all young people, regardless of their background, can meet together and take part in a range of youth related activities. These includes trainings, workshops, and computer classes, career coaching and counseling. It is a common space where youth learn, share and become informed on a variety of subjects relating to youth. Our aim is to provide specialized and relevant training to young people on how to handle real world challenges. It is like a crash course for adulthood. Limitations are not caused by where youth come from, what their qualification is, what they dream of or who they are. All it needs is a hunger for learning and passion to be a change maker.
Umbrella Organization Nepal (UON), is a non-profit, non-government, family-based child protection organization working to relieve the impact of trafficking, poverty and internal conflict of the country on the children of Nepal through projects, which promote education, reintegration and community development. UON’s main objectives are to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children and vulnerable young adults in their care and to facilitate meaningful, lasting-aid in support of displaced children. UON was established in 2005 under District Administration Office, Kathmandu, Nepal. Since its inception, 400+ children and young people have been directly supported through Residential Childcare Program, Youth Development Program, Family Reintegration Program, Rural School Support Program and Community Empowerment Programs. Likewise after the devastating earthquake in 2015, 3000+ children and families were supported through different projects.
The main activities of UON to date have been to ensure that all the children and young adults in UON’s care, or who have been reintegrated with their families, receive necessary supports that UON can offer. UON was set up, in response to the increasing number of children who were displaced, separated, or orphaned by poverty and the internal conflict in Nepal. Many of these children came to Kathmandu, from extreme remote rural areas, in search of work, and ended up destitute on the streets, living as domestic slaves, or living in poorly managed, often unregistered homes in the Kathmandu valley. From 2005 to early 2009, UON expanded rapidly, rescuing 388 children from adverse conditions in ‘orphanages’ in Kathmandu during that time and supporting other children at risk in their families. With the help of the Nepali District Child Welfare Board (DCWB), UON were instrumental in the closure of sub-standard children’s homes in the Kathmandu Valley, and apart from those rescued, it has additionally assisted several street and destitute children whose cases were brought to the attention of UON. At its peak, UON had eight care homes in Kathmandu with 300+ children under its care. UON acknowledges the negative impacts growing up in institutional care can have on children and therefore firmly hold the belief that the best environment for a child’s development is with their family or, failing this, within their community of origin. Thus UON’s long-term aim is the reintegration of the children in its care. In this regard, UON works to reconnect children with their families/communities and, where possible reintegrate children with their families on a permanent basis. The children in UON’s care come from all areas of the country, making the task of reintegration challenging, not only for family tracing but also for on-going monitoring.
CYC is one of the current programs of UON and it acts as a center where young people and especially care-leavers can come and get advice on a range of topics (e.g. Sexual Reproductive Health, Consent, Academic/Career Pathways, Peer Pressure, Safe Migration, both basic and advanced computer training classes), detailed information through the use of workshops and other support services. We have managed library and free cafeteria in the premises of this center where young people can have tea/coffee themselves and serve to fellows too. The main focus is to encourage and support young people who are not in education or employment to move back into one of those fields, as well as providing a safe and comfortable environment where people of different backgrounds can meet, discuss ideas and form professional networks.
The need of CYC is one of the major learning of UON in its 16 years of working for children with similar background. As per our information, very limited number of organizations running residential care programs is aware of its negative impact. As such many fail to prepare their children before they leave the institutional care. The life in and outside care homes is unimaginably different. They go through series of challenges when they step in real life outside and many fail to cope with the stress and end up in depression or involve in criminal activities for easy earnings; thus the immense need of a care leavers club is realized where they can come and share their problems amongst themselves as well as with Umbrella social workers.
The main objective of CYC is to foster smooth socialization and reintegration of care leavers into their families and communities. It is first of its kind in Nepal and we planned it since 2014. In the center, children leaving institutional care can come for advice & information on what to do next, how to live independently. We are open to needy non-care leavers as well. CYC is a resource center or platform aimed at enabling the children and young adults leaving institutional care to become dignified, independent, employable and responsible citizens of Nepal. Beneficiaries are provided with further in-house trainings, workshops, personal skill development opportunities, financial assistance (in case of urgencies) and psychosocial guidance. CYC supports with the proper skill trainings especially to the care-leavers as many as possible with funds. It is seen as necessary in pursuing the best interests of the children and young adults to support their social reintegration – becoming contributing members of their families and communities – and to foster independence and self-sufficiency. It is also a strategic bridge between institutions and the family/community, aimed at fostering smooth socialization/community reintegration process of care-leavers.
The aims and objectives of CYC is to ensure that all CYC youth have access to supports and opportunities enabling them to live an independent and dignified life in Nepali society, to assist them with this difficult transition from institutional care to family or/and community reintegration, to assist them with difficult transition from school to college/training centers, to assist them to develop the skills and access the tools necessary in finding gainful employment, to encourage technical and vocational training for jobs which have a greater employment rate, to encourage reintegration with families and communities and to gain skills which can benefit their own community, to begin the process of career counselling, to assess and support their capacity, interests and family background to assist them in making the best choice for themselves, to provide support, advice and information to needy young people - concerning smooth socialization and community reintegration, to establish links with employers, scholarship funds, Nepali supporters & education institutions and connect with CYC youth for their better future, to inspire youth to work within their community and to conduct general counseling sessions if requested, and for specific counseling refer to concerned organizations.
The major components of CYC are following as:
Coffee Shop: A cafeteria (tea & coffee) and Internet access have been managed for free of cost where youth can meet and discuss on relevant topics under the supervision of Youth Coaches.
Weekly Workshop: Workshops will be provided on varieties of topics that are related to youth/youth-adults. Also considered providing on-demand Workshops.
Skills Trainings Classes: In-house training on short-term tailoring training and the proper skill trainings based on the fund availability.
Computer Skill Training Center: Basic and longer-term computer classes will be provided for interested youth. It will include advance courses like programing, website designing and development, movie making, Apps development etc.
Youth-led Activities: For those youth visiting CYC regularly will be encouraged to involve in various community & educational activities. They are provided with logistic cost based on the fund availability.