Kechara Soup Kitchen Nepal came into being one evening in Kathmandu, when Rinpoche took a rickshaw ride from Vijaswari Vajrayogini temple to Thamel and got to know the driver, Batri.
Batri is 42 years old and has been driving his rickshaw for the past five years. Before becoming a rickshaw driver, he was selling bangles and other accessories at Durbar Square and learnt some basic English from communicating with the tourists.
Batri’s monthly expenses include room rental, rickshaw rental, school fees for his four children and food. The total amounts to 5550 RP (RM250) per month. However, he only earns an average of 1500RP (RM68) per month and this is heavily dependent on the seasonal cycle, as well.
It is really challenging for the family to make ends meet. In fact, when Rinpoche met Batri, we found out that he had not been paying school fees for two of his four children for about a year. He simply cannot afford the school fees of RM12/month per child.
Batri’s house is located 5 minutes away from Thamel, on the top floor of a house. It is more like an attic – the room is extremely small and has a very low ceiling of about four-feet high. An adult cannot stand upright inside the room. Batri, his wife Sunitha, their two sons and two daughters have all lived in this small room for seven years. They even cook the family meals in this room. And since the whole family is cramped into one small room, Batri’s 16 year-old son ends up loitering on the streets. This is a cause of great concern because the chance of his son being influenced by the local street gangs is high.
Hence, Rinpoche started helping Batri. First was the purchase of a large bag of rice, some vegetables, toiletries, and daily amenity items for his family. Next Rinpoche decided to further improve Batri’s living conditions by sponsoring the cost for the family to move into a bigger home. Batri’s case becomes the first assistance in kind of Kechara Soup Kitchen in Nepal. Although it is only one person, we will eventually generate the cause and merits to help more and more people in Kathmandu.
Kechara Soup Kitchen in Malaysia is regularly supplying more than 800 packets of food each week to the homeless and underprivileged on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. In due time, Kechara Soup Kitchen in Nepal will be able to do more to help the community of Kathmandu.