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Elder Rights World

A World Tour of Older Persons Homes

Come on this World Tour to a little known place in the world to discover how older persons are living.  In our World Tour section, Global Action on Aging presents some bottom-up projects in developing countries that we’ve discovered are trying to meet older people’s needs. We show you the actual project, along with a variety of photographs, a brief explanation about the country’s particular situation, local laws affecting older persons, the country’s demographic situation and its cultural perception of aging.

In 2002, many nations came together in Madrid to debate and eventually adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA). Trying to better serve older people’s needs, the authors made recommendations about the specific rights of older people and promoted the idea of "solidarity between generations at all levels which is fundamental for the achievement of a society for all ages."  In the subsequent years, many nations, particularly the poor, have not had the resources or capacity to put the  recommendations into practice.  However, this web section demonstrates that citizens and local organizations--sometimes with help from governments- have reached out to serve older people in a “bottom-up approach.”  Also, older persons themselves have organized to improve their situation.



Presentation of the Country

Presentation of Nepal
Nepal is a landlocked Himalayan country in South Asia bordered by Tibet to the north and India to the south, east and west…

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Elderly's Home

 

Social Welfare Centre Elderly's Home, Pashupatinah
Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity founded the Social Welfare Centre Elderly's Home.  The Nepal Government also sponsors The Home.  Located in Pashupatinah - a holy place close to Kathmandu - the Home hosts destitute Nepali elders, offering shelter, meals and clothes. The total housing capacity is 230 people.  Several criteria govern who is chosen.  The following articles relate to this Home and give the reader some insight about the situation in Nepal.  Readers will notice the different perceptions of this Older Persons Home in contrast to more Western notions.  When Westerners visit the Home, they remark about the sparse, basic living conditions that the older people experience there.  However, the Home’s residents consider themselves some of the most fortunate elders in all of Nepal.
 

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Demographics

Demographic Situation of Aging Population in Nepal
Since little is known about the elderly in Nepal, this report gives basic information about the aging population in Nepal, including census data and other materials.  One major trends is the increasing proportion of elderly. During the second half of the twentieth century, life expectancy in Nepal increased dramatically from 27 to 60 years. However, in comparison with other poor countries, few aging breakthroughs can be identified.

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Legislation on Older Persons
 
 

Little legislation exists that focuses on older people in Nepal. The Constitution mentions older people by stating people who have to be specifically taken into account. Also, Nepal participated in the Second World Assembly on Aging. Last, the following articles about Legislation on Older People reveal that the government has taken some action, if limited, to protect older people.

Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal (1990)
The Nepali Constitution enacted in 1990 aims at protecting children, women, disabled and older people in various fields such as Education, Health, and Social Security.

Nepal and the World Assembly on Aging (2002)
Nepal sent its representative to attend the Second World Assembly on Aging in Madrid. Here is the speech of the Nepali Representative and a press article about this Assembly.

Articles about Legislation on older people
These articles dealing with some recent legislation drafts from the government on older people, such as an eventual “Senior Citizens Act” to ensure social, economic and human rights of the elderly citizens.


Life as an Older Person
 

Life as an Older person in Nepal
While MIPAA says that nations must focus on "Ensuring enabling and supportive environments", one of its objectives is the "provision of a continuum of care and services for older persons from various source." But given the fact that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, older people consequently face many difficulties.  By economic standards, people over 75 years old in Nepal receive a very small allowance from the government, only 150 Rs per month, that’s  “nothing but peanuts.”  Even the qualified often cannot walk to the district headquarters to claim it since it’s too far away. By social standards, until recently, the Nepali family traditions and values ensured care for their older members.  But now, the nuclear family is replacing the traditional multi-generational family in urban areas, isolating older members. These articles illustrate their situation.

 

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Gallery


The Social Welfare Centre Briddhashram Elderly's Home


A pensioner of the Home


The courtyard


The arcade in the courtyard


The courtyard


Temples in the middle of the courtyard


“We are served good food and then we go for prayers in the morning and in the evening."

 

 

March 2007: SRI LANKA



 


Presentation of the Country

Elderly's Home Demographics


Legislation on Older Persons

Life as an Older Person

Gallery



Presentation of the Country

Presentation of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island nation in South Asia. More than 20 million people live in this nation, formerly known as Ceylon in the period before 1972. Located about 31 kilometers (18 miles) off the southern coast of India, the country produces tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts and boasts a progressive, modern industrial economy.

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Elderly's Home

The Jayawickreme Foundation Day Care Centre for the Old People
Following the 2004 tsunami that traumatized and left many older persons bereft of support, the Jayawickreme Foundation opened a day care center for forty older persons. The older persons lived in the hard-hit coastal community of Weligama in southern Sri Lanka. Operated free of charge since opening in October 2006, the Day Care Centre serves persons of all religions and communities, an important feature where many people face discrimination and reprisal due to their religion(s) and ethnic backgrounds.

 

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Demographics


Demographic Implications of Health Care in Sri Lanka
Over the next 25 years, the number and proportion of older persons will gain momentum in Sri Lanka. By 2020, Sri Lanka will experience South Asia’s most rapid population growth. Older Sri Lankans will demand a great share of the financial resources for their health care needs in the coming decades.

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Legislation on Older Persons
 
 

Sri Lanka Statement at the Second World Assembly on Aging
This statement of Sri Lanka during the Second World Assembly on Aging in 2002 gives us a glimpse into the legal framework for the elderly in Sri Lanka. In the main, the Protection of the Rights of Elder Act and the National Committee on Aging constitute the primary legal support for older persons in Sri Lanka.


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Life as an Older Person


Since 1983, the 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minorities have fought for a separate homeland. In March 2007, the World Food Program said that more than 155,000 displaced people are estimated to need immediate food and relief assistance in the conflict-affected area, including many older persons. In addition, the conflict has left 65,000 people dead and more than 300,000 homeless. In 2004, Sri Lanka was strongly hit by the Tsunami disaster. Find below more information about its impact on older persons.

UN Roundtable on Older Persons in the 2004 Tsunami
What happened to older persons in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami? Ignored or engaged? Global Action on Aging and Help Age International asked UN experts, affected government leaders, relief agencies and local NGOs to answer these tough questions. Their analyses and ideas at the UN's Commission for Social Development revealed ways to serve older persons better in emergencies. Click here to read the speech of Susanne Loos-Jayawickreme, Vice-Chairperson of the Jayawickreme Foundation.

Sri Lanka: Report of the National Workshop on the Impact of the Tsunami on the "Vulnerable Groups" and Women (October 21, 2005)
This workshop that the Economic and Social Commission of Asia Pacific (ESCAP) organized provided a forum for the voices of people with disabilities, including older persons and women, in the tsunami-affected areas of Sri Lanka. It explores lessons learned and the implications for post-tsunami reconstruction programs and policies and agrees on a set of recommendations that has been shared in a regional meeting. It gives decision makers more understanding of what specific groups require for assistance and how certain issues can make vulnerable persons even more vulnerable in time of disaster.

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Gallery


Clothing for old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people

Click to view full size image
Day care centre for 40 old people

Click to view full size image
Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


Day care centre for 40 old people


The old people gather for meditation

 

 

May 2007: PALESTINE




Presentation of the Country

Elderly's Home Demographics

Life as an Older Person
 

Gallery



Presentation of the Country


Presentation of Palestine (UN Source)
This UN document gives a factual background to the current situation of Palestine. Click here for more UN sources about Palestine.

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Elderly's Home


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center by Caritas Jerusalem
The Roman Catholic organization, Caritas Jerusalem, initiated an elderly day center in 1990 that provides a glimpse into older Palestinians’ lives. Caritas works to improve the quality of life of older Palestinians by giving them food, health care, social assistance as well as entertaining social activities. Organizers say that they try to remind the older persons that they have not been forgotten.

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Demographics

 

A First Glimpse at the 2004 Palestinian Demographic and Health Survey
Older persons constitute around 4% of the Palestinian population. Few health programs and services reach them. This survey contains information about the demographics of Palestinians as well as access to health care.

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Life as an Older Person

The Elderly in Palestine
In the West Bank, older citizens are among the most vulnerable groups in the Palestinian population. They face insufficient health care, lack of social welfare assistance, as well as loneliness. The Palestinian National Authority’s Ministry of Social Affairs gives senior citizens a monthly stipend of 90 NIIS which is approximately $2. Obviously, this amount can cover a small fraction of their daily expenses.

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Gallery


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center


Elderly receiving a gift for the Holidays.


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center


A Holiday Party


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center


Ramallah Elderly Day Care Center






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