Extended assistance for the ex-combatants to begin a new life
There are 2,397 VMLRs who have contacted the Programme and 1,995 have received career counseling as of 15 February 2011. They have been referred to specifically designed livelihood opportunities. Out of the total 1,377 VMLRs referred, 583 trainees have completed their training and 141 graduates have already found employment or started their own business.
During the press conference organised by the UNIRP, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper stated, “This is the final opportunity for those who have not already registered for the Rehabilitation Package Programme, to do so and to seize the chance to be supported in their transition to a civilian life.”
The eligibility for enrolling in one or the other rehabilitation option was agreed for 12 months after the VMLRs were discharged. Considering that the last batch or 40 per cent of the 4008 Maoist ex-combatants verified as VMLRs were discharged on 23 March 2010, the date has been extended for being eligible to claim for the assistance being provided by the UNIRP.
There are four rehabilitation packages available: Educational Assistance; Micro Enterprise Development Training; Vocational Skills Training; and Health Services Related Training. The rehabilitation packages also include post-training support to link the graduates to employment opportunities and also self-employment. All the participants receive a monthly stipend during their training period. A provision has also been made for psycho social support through a network of partner agencies—over three hundred participants have already received this support.
Gillian Mellsop, Country Representative of UNICEF Nepal informed that special gender related support is provided to ensure that women who make up more than 30 % of the 4008 have the opportunity to fully participate in the programme including mothers with infants—provision has been made for nutritional diet for pregnant women and lactating mothers . Child care grants are provided for children under -5 years for up to two children during the training period for the mothers.
Highlighting the features of the assistance package, Desmond Molloy, the UNIRP Senior Rehabilitation Advisor stated, "We have developed a very strong and special gender perspective, noting that more than 30 per cent of ex-combatants coming from the cantonment are women. This is indeed a very high number and probably the second highest number of any similar type of rehabilitation programme in the world."
The media was also informed that a toll free line 1-660-01-77888 is operated six days a week and 10 hours a day for VMLRs to enroll in the programme.