FORMER AFL AND VAFA STAR MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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Carl and his wife Tuuli opened the Onni Children’s House in Pokhara last month, a home for 10 disadvantaged and at-risk children. Channel Nine News will be screening a report on the project tonight and a follow up story will run on the Today Show tomorrow. Further information can be obatained from their website www.windofchangeinternational.org To give you an indication of their work, below is an update from Carl on the kids they have taken in and are caring for upon opening –
Arvin Limbu – According to his birth certificate Arvin is 5 years old, but we have reason to doubt that – he looks and acts more like a 1-2 year old. A good part of the explanation is that last year he was found by a social organisation in a town 14 hours from here near the Indian border looking like a skeleton – he and his brother were severely malnourished. His brother subsequently died, but Arvin made it through, although his development has been compromised. He’s the baby of the house for the time being. 
Dalbadur (9 y.o boy), Indrakala (7 y.o girl) & Shova (5 y.o girl) – We visited their family in a remote village, their mum has severe mental problems and her way of dealing with the kids was scary, and the dad is old and blind. The state of the place they were living in was awful. All the children were very sad and introverted, but over the last couple of days they have started to open up a bit, and smile, which is great. 
Deumaya (10 y.o girl) & Ganesh (5 y.o boy) – They come from a family of 7 children. A couple of years ago their father attacked the entire family with an axe, killing 1 of the children and severly scarring the others. After the attack mum had trouble coping, and the youngest child died of neglect. The oldest boy has been looking after the others until now and asked if we could help. We had medical check ups for all the kids a few days ago and Ganesh has a severe skin infection, but he is now receiving treatment for that. 
Shambu (8 y.o boy) & Alina (4 y.o girl) – Their father died 3 months ago and their mother has been looking after them and their baby sister in a tiny room filled with the smell of kerosene. She is also pregnant with another baby and has been unable to support the family, begging for left over food off neighbours – she tried to commit suicide a couple of weeks ago. These two kids have been having the hardest time adjusting at this stage, we have a child counsellor coming to speak with all the children in a few days time, so hopefully they will help them adjust and make them feel more comfortable as well as give us good advice on the best way to care for them. 
Kiran (4) – We collected Kiran from the police station a month ago and he has been staying with our partner organisation, Namaste Children’s House until Onni House was ready. He was found abandoned here in Pokhara and stayed with the police for 18 days while they tried to locate his parents, but despite radio announcements and notices in the newspaper, nobody claimed him. He has burns on his face and arm, but is otherwise pretty healthy, although very small. He’s a cheeky little guy, full of energy and personality. 
Roshani (6) – She was left in a temple by her parents, and was then taken to an organisation who works to help rehabilitate women who have been sexually trafficked to India where they cared for her temporarily. She has a very sweet nature, and has been great in helping the other kids settle in to the house. She also loves to dance!

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