social issue

Cinderella Children

When women become widowed or abandoned, often remarriage is the only acceptable option
to survive. Step parents have no moral of financial responsibility by law to care
for step children in Nepal.

Step-children in Nepal are customarily unwanted within new marital relationships. They are considered to be an undesirable reminder that the wife is not pure. These children are either unloved within their new family or treated as de facto slaves, hence being dubbed ‘Nepal’s Cinderella Children’.

  • Many mothers think their best option is to remarry and abandon their children. These children are sometimes left in the care of their retired elderly grandparents who cannot financially care for them. Otherwise, they are abandoned in an orphanage where they face a desolate future.
  • Why would any mother abandon her children?’ This is a question many foreign people who do have access to shelter, social welfare, financial assistance and community organisations ask. It is a rare case that the widowed or abandoned mother does not love her children, but poverty speaks in large volumes. She often has no way of providing food for herself or her children. The children are safer living with their mother, however mothers believe they have no choice.
  • There is a wide-spread, false belief that NGO-run orphanages will feed and educate the children in a better manner than the mother can. Nepal does not have any form of financial welfare assistance; the country relies heavily on these foreign-funded NGOs. This is not a long-term sustainable solution for the mothers, the children or the country. Every day a child spends in an orphanage unnecessarily is a developmental disaster.
  • Cinderella children become highly at-risk victims of being trafficked into forced labour, sex slavery or becoming circus children.
  • The women of Nepal can be educated at grassroots level about the alternative possibilities to earn an income, become independent and keep their children. Then they will not feel pressured to rush into re-marriage and choose a husband over their children. They have the opportunity to choose another path, if only more paths were being offered.

Children desperately need to know – and to hear in ways they understand and remember – that they’re loved and valued by mom and dad.

– Paul Smally

It would be bad enough if such children were unwanted and treated as de facto slaves, like Cinderella. EBMF has found children sometimes run away from abuse to live on the streets and have been sold by step-parents to be trafficked into Indian circuses. – Nepali times


As a foreign contributor keen to help the social issues in Nepal, we ask you this question – Would you rather contribute toward supporting one of the questionable orphanages in a country where 8 out of 10 of the children in the orphanages are not orphans or would you prefer to support education and the creation of employment opportunities that keep families united?


1. Education       2. Female Employment       3. Overseas Employment       4. Human Trafficking

5. Child Labour       6. Cinderella Children       7. Marriage       8. Violence        9. Health

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