Tattooed, often clad in black clothing, and unafraid to express themselves, the underground scene in Nepal can find itself ostracised and dismissed by mainstream society. But the scene, known for its lively gigs and committed fans, organised a spectacular event to help the street children of Kathmandu survive the cold months ahead, and had a great time doing it.
According to Nepal’s Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) there are currently 5000 children living on the streets in Nepal and approximately 1000 in the Kathmandu valley. It is rare to go a day in Kathmandu without seeing street children and, although there are organizations trying to help them, the situation does not seem to be improving. Authorities seem disinterested but many in the scene felt they could not ignore the plight of these children, many being victims of sexual, physical, emotional, and substance abuse. So what to do? Organize a great gig and raise money through ticket sales and collect clothing to help the kids keep warm!
Sangeet Pathshala along with Pandora’s Jukebox, Live and Loud, and Underground Pokhara arranged Together for Street Children, a gig hosted by Purple Haze rock bar in Kathmandu on December 10th. It featured many bands well known in the underground and metal scene. The gig was packed and the crowd full of energy; everyone was there to have a great time and listen to some powerful live music just as much as to give something back. The bands Tumbleweed Inc., Childwife, Kaal, Rage Hybrid, Atrocity, R.O.G., and Fragments played and slayed.
Along with raising money through the event, there was also a huge drive to collect winter clothes to help the street children stay warm as many get sick due to the cold. Enough clothing for at least 300 street children was collected, people from all around the valley got involved, and even Underground Pokhara collected many donations. Donations have already been given to four centres that help street children and there are plans to work with more centres too.
Events like this show that this underground scene is not just a bunch of individual musicians, but a community in itself. Many of us who are part of alternative culture know how it feels to be looked down on and this understanding can create a real empathy for others. Alternative culture is where many of us find our home and that is what everyone wanted to do for the street children. Bijay Khadka, a main organizer, said, “Let’s work together and make them feel like they belong” and this event was certainly a step in that direction. Together for Street Children is a great example of how helping others can be a lot of fun and hopefully there will be more events like this in the future. Bijay expressed his gratitude towards everyone involved saying, “thank you again and keep supporting” and it is exciting to see what more the scene can achieve.