Photo: One of the girls at our rehabilitation home in 2014, now happily resettled in her home village where she is a tailoring business owner.
Today we are celebrating the good news that our ‘She Has Hope’ rehabilitation home in Kathmandu, Nepal, has been in operation for 5 years. The home was founded by our faithful 49-year-old field director, Bimal, who grew up in a village near the base of Mt. Everest, and is now married with two children. As he worked in the surrounding mountain villages seeking orphan rescues, he heard numerous stories of missing girls who had fallen prey to the deceptive schemes of local traffickers. It became more and more common to hear stories of missing girls, and he also encountered girls who had returned to the villages after being liberated in Indian police raids — he saw that they were having a very difficult time reintegrating into society. Bimal felt a deep burden about these problems and decided to do something about it. With the help of our executive director, Kirby Trapolino, they started by establishing our trafficking awareness program in 2011, where our native team went from village to village doing workshops and town hall-style meetings to raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking, and to train girls how to avoid the false promises of traffickers. They then launched our rehabilitation home in March of 2012, which officially opened with our first few girls in April of that year.
Now 5 years later, we are thankful to report that we have rescued and rehabilitated 132 girls (ages 13-28) at our home in Kathmandu, where they live for 6-8 months, receiving counseling and medical care (some are HIV positive), and room & board in a safe and peaceful harbor. 110 girls have graduated from our skills development program, where they become proficient in several craft-making, seamstress, and cooking and gardening skills, and receive support in basic literacy and the fundamentals of small business accounting through daily coursework offered by our full-time teachers. Through their craft-making and seamstress work, the girls learn to sew various popular styles of Nepalese and Indian dresses, make stuffed animals, and knit sweaters, gloves, and baby hats. They also learn to make beautiful jewelry items, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Many of the girls’ crafts are sold online at SheHasHope.org, and all proceeds directly support their rehabilitation.
Photo inset: (Top-left): Through their seamstress work, the girls in our Nepal rehabilitation program learn to sew various popular styles of Nepalese and Indian dresses. (Top-right): The girls also become skilled in embroidery work, a peaceful activity that they enjoy. (Bottom-left): We have rescued and rehabilitated 132 girls at our home in Kathmandu, where they receive counseling and medical care, and room & board in a safe and peaceful harbor. (Bottom-right): The girls receive support in basic literacy and the fundamentals of small business accounting through daily coursework offered by our full-time teachers.
Our rehabilitation program has also enabled 47 of the graduates to start their own tailoring and craft-making businesses, often located in their hometown villages. With the skills that they have acquired through our development program, we are always encouraged that they are very successful in their ventures. 26 of our graduates have gotten married, and 17 of them have also had children. Our girls’ successes and redemptive triumphs in life are the fulfillment of Bimal’s and Kirby’s vision 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. 5 of the graduated girls, filled with gratitude for how our program has provided them with a new joyful life, have come back to the rehabilitation home to encourage newly rescued girls, sharing their testimony about their restoration, recovery, and how they have utilized the skills they learned in our development program. One such graduate has even stayed on to join our staff at the home.
Each year around 20,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked across the Nepal-India border, mostly into Indian brothels. Many are from families who were tricked into believing there was an attractive job awaiting them in the big city. Others are lured to run away by young men who promise the girls various material possessions, leading them to believe they’re in love with them and want to take them home to India. Our teams are training girls how to spot such tactics and what to do when they suspect traffickers are visiting their towns and villages. We are thankful to report that during the past 5 years we have reached over 10,000 girls through our trafficking awareness program.
Photo inset: (Top-left): Girls who graduated from our Nepal rehabilitation program proudly hold their certificates which represent hope and a new start. (Top-right): Girls at the home work on making stuffed animals together, one of the many skills taught to them prior to their graduation. (Bottom-left): This woman is very thankful to have graduated from our Nepal rehabilitation program, enabling her to start her own tailoring business which helps her support her family. (Bottom-right): The girls enjoy working in the garden project at the home, which gives them the understanding of advanced gardening techniques, equipping them with the knowledge of how to start their own gardens to provide for themselves.
Shortly after we started the trafficking awareness program and opened the rehabilitation home, we felt a greater need to protect vulnerable girls in Nepal, so we established a “border lookout” team, who help to rescue girls about to be trafficked right across the Nepal-India border. We have a kiosk located on the border where two of our female staff pass out literature and talk to girls in a makeshift counseling booth about the dangers of trafficking. The girls are also encouraged to provide tips about suspect scenarios, which are passed along to the border police. Our staff there have often alerted local police to suspect behavior, resulting in girls being rescued right out of the hands of traffickers moments before they would have crossed the border. This is a critical point of rescue because once they cross the border, there would be little chance of recourse for the victims. The number of pamphlets passed out to girls at the border is in the order of tens of thousands, educating many girls who were previously unaware, thus keeping them safe.
All of these programs have been made possible thanks to your generous support and faithful prayers. Working together with you, we’ve been able to do something miraculous, providing housing for the girls and our orphans, rent, food, water, electricity, medical care, teaching materials, clothing and education scholarships, transportation, and staff salaries. You have helped to improve the lives of our girls and give them a future replete with hope, to bring about the initial vision of our leadership, and help to end the tragic cycle of human trafficking, which is sadly prevalent in Nepal and India. We give thanks to God for your continual support.
Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others