Nepal earthquake kids denied trip to visit family in Scotland


TWO Nepalese children have been refused permission to visit family in Scotland – on the grounds there was too little evidence of earthquake damage to their home.

Pictures show the siblings, aged 9 and 5, living in a tent after Kathmandu was devastated in the earthquakes that killed around 9,000 people.



Little Diya is living in a tent with her parents following the tragedy in Nepal earlier this year.


Relatives want to give Diya and her brother Sugam a trip to Scotland to have a six-month break from the misery of living in a disaster zone.

But Wilma Mentiplay and Bijaya Pradhananga, from Fife, were heartbroken after hearing from the Home Office that the children’s visa application had been turned down on the grounds that their home was still habitable.

The youngsters currently live with Bijaya’s brother Dilli and their mother, Nero in Kathmandu.

Their mother is awaiting the results of a cancer biopsy and their father is caring for their elderly grandparents, who are living in the basement of the former family home.

The children’s uncle and aunt, who live in Halbeath in Dunfermline, applied for a 6-month visa so the children could briefly escape the appalling conditions they live in.


Wilma Mentiplay and Bijaya Pradhananga – desperate to offer “the bairns” a respite visit.


But the Home Office refused, writing: “You have failed to submit any evidence to show that your residential accommodation in Nepal is uninhabitable.”

Fiery former foster carer Wilma, from Halbeath near Dunfermline in Fife, has slammed the decision, saying the officials should “watch the telly”.

The 67-year old has been married to Bijaya, 58, for 18 years after meeting him through friends in Cowdenbeath.

Bijaya’s university lecturer brother Dilli had studied at Fife college, but returned to Nepal with his wife and two children several years ago.

Wilma has been a foster carer for 27 years since her son died tragically, and has looked after over 60 children in that time.

She said: “If the Border Control say this isn’t enough evidence to say they’re affected, they should watch the telly.

“Their house is 4 storeys high and it’s cracked right the way down. We were hoping it would still be inhabitable but it was condemned.

“The bairns are living in a tent out on the street and the monsoon’s coming. There will be illnesses about.”


Diya, 9, with 5-year old brother Sugam in Nepal.


She added: “My sister-in-law has health troubles – she’s having a biopsy- and they are also having to look after the grandparents.

“I just wanted to take a bit of pressure off them. I thought it would be nice for the bairns to get away from all the carry-on and maybe have Santa and a wee bit of Christmas here, a wee bit of something different, a wee bit of relief.

“There’s that many people coming in to the country and two wee innocent bairns aren’t allowed.

“It’s just a visitor’s visa we were wanting. That is what family is for.”

The Home Office’s reply to the application stated: “You have failed to submit any evidence to show that your residential accommodation is uninhabitable or evidence of your parent’s medical conditions.

“Given your current circumstances, I am not satisfied that you have an incentive to return to Nepal within the stated six-month period.

“It is unclear when the situation in Nepal will stabalise and when your parents will be in a position to care for you and your sibling.

“Furthermore, a six-month visa would involve you missing a significant amount of schooling in your home nation.

“Given the above, I am not satisfied you are a genuine visitor and will leave the United Kingdom at the end of your visit.”




But Wilma said yesterday: “We’re not going to stop fighting. Their mum and dad will be wanting them back home, as soon as this is sorted out.

“They could enrol at school here – they speak perfect English- so they wouldn’t be missing anything.”

Asked if the family might use the visit to get immigration status in the UK, she said: “Dilli was studying here, he could have stayed but went back to his old job in Nepal at £400 a month.

“He could have got a lot more money if he stayed here. They’re settled now, they’d never leave.

“My mother and father-in-law couldn’t come here. They’re too old, they’d never make the journey. “

A 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake, on April 25th, caused huge destruction to homes and ancient historic sites in and around the capital of Kathmandu.

The second quake on 12th May measured measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale caused further devastation.

Millions of pounds in aid has poured in to the region in recent months.

The Home Office declined to comment.

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