Photo: Some of our recent graduates proudly holding their coursework graduation certificates.
We are happy to report that 7 girls (ages 16-22) graduated from our Nepal ‘She Has Hope’ trafficking rehabilitation home in February. All of these girls are planning to start their own tailoring businesses in their home villages. We hope that with their newly acquired skills, they will be very successful in their new business ventures. The girls’ success in completing their 6-month skill development program and graduating is the fulfillment of our goal to equip girls enrolled at the ‘She Has Hope’ home with everything they need to know to stand on their own, healed and full of hope.
11 new girls (ages 15-22) were recently rescued from various locations in India and Nepal and were brought to live in the safety of our home where they will receive counseling and medical aid, and safe room & board. They will also become proficient in several craft-making, seamstress, and cooking and gardening skills, and receive support in basic literacy through daily coursework offered by our faithful, full-time teachers, changing the course of their lives forever, providing a future of hope, peace, and economic independence as they will also be taught the fundamentals of small business accounting within the skill development program. Thus, if they start their own businesses such as our February graduates, they will be fully equipped to run their businesses with success and profitability.
The new girls were overjoyed when 2 members of our ‘She Has Hope’ advisory board, Calley Powell and Ashley Laws, who both have experience in jewelry design, arrived at the Nepal rehabilitation home on March 14th. Calley reported: “After we introduced ourselves and they did the same, we sang and danced and just had pure fun. It was so amazing to see their smiles and happy yet timid spirits.” The following day, the volunteer designers led the girls in some stretching exercises to loosen up their muscles and taught them the “La Macarena” dance to make the girls laugh and get them out of their comfort zones in preparation for instruction in jewelry-making from their 2 new American friends. The girls also taught the jewelry designers a Nepali dance. Calley said: “There was lots of laughing, mostly at our expense, but we love it — to see the smiles and joy is worth anything!”
After the laughter and dancing, they all split up into 2 groups. One jewelry designer taught the girls a set she designed which included a bracelet and earrings. The other designer taught the girls a set of earring designs. Both groups learned to make jewelry using stones and beads bought the previous day at one of the markets in Kathmandu. The girls enjoyed learning how to make the jewelry and caught on quickly. After lunch, everyone played a fun game together, and Calley and Ashley taught the girls how to make men’s bracelets.
The next day, after beginning once again with stretching and dancing, our volunteers taught the girls how to make a new necklace design with coordinating earrings — when the girls accomplished the new designs, they proudly modeled their handiwork for the designers. All of these new jewelry designs will eventually be sold online on our ‘She Has Hope’ website, and all proceeds will directly support the girls’ holistic rehabilitation. In the words of our field director: “Thank you for sending Ashley and Calley to teach the girls at the rehabilitation home. The girls at the home really enjoyed them and learned many things. Our girls are filled with new hope and new energy from the spiritual friendship with Ashley and Calley.”
Ashley and Calley also learned the girls’ stories of their traumatic situations before they came to live at our rehabilitation home. They reported: “A common factor in trafficking is the lure. Girls and women are lured by the hope of a better job, better opportunity, or more money. They are lied to about these ‘fruitful’ jobs and then are forced, trapped, and subjected to an oppressing situation. They think they are on the road to better things and then the unthinkable happens, which we think would make the trauma worse.”
In fulfillment of the prevention objectives in our response to the human trafficking crisis, we regularly pass out literature to girls at the Nepal-India border — our program coordinator recently distributed 300 trafficking prevention leaflets to 300 young girls. The leaflets contain trafficking awareness information and our staff talk to the girls about the dangers of trafficking. They also look out for suspicious behavior such as an older man with teenage girls who look out of place, and in such cases tip off border police to investigate. This is a critical point of rescue because once they cross the border, there would be little chance of recourse for the victims.
To round out the good news, in January we harvested 143 pounds of millet at our farmland enterprise which we ground into millet powder to add a delicious, nutritious ingredient to the orphans’ and the girls’ meals. The girls also harvested 55 pounds of cauliflower from our rehabilitation home garden in February, and they planted onions and garlic which will be harvested in April. The girls’ gardening project not only provides them with organic ingredients for their meals, but it also gives them the knowledge of advanced gardening techniques. Thus they leave the home with the ability to start their own gardens to provide for their nutritional needs, further strengthening their ability to stand on their own.
Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others