In end June, 2012 it came to our attention through our field staff that our target groups from the Thamel area working in the massage parlors were facing various problems. The government and the Massage Association had been pressuring them to acquire massage and spa training certificate. Most of these girls and women are working with little on-the-job experience in these parlors and do not possess certificates as such. If these massage parlor workers would not get the Spa training and certificate soon, their centres will be closed down. If they would not have got the training, these girls would be displaced from that area and had a high chance of joining into open prostitution in the streets of Kathmandu. This trend has already started a couple of weeks ago where the administration closed down few massage centres who did not have legal certificates for running massage centres. The result of this closure has affected and forced several girls and women to go in the streets. There are about 4500 girls and women working in the massage parlors in Thamel area only. Raksha has 120 in 6 groups in that area only. Some girls were already trained and possess certificates, but there are many who do not have them. Within the available fund, we decided to provide most vulnerable of them with the basic 3 months Spa training immediately, which concludes by the end of September 2012.
Out of 15 girls who were provided with the sewing and cutting (tailoring) training, we selected 8 prospective women for the advance tailoring training. The reason to provide the advance training is to harness them with the skills which increases their confidence and ability at par with the professional tailors. This training started in August and would conclude in October. After this training the said women have committed to open their own small business of their own. The credit to establish the business is foreseen to be provided by the sister concern of RN - Raksha Shree Cooperative.
Raksha Nepal had to undertake one unplanned emergency support to one mentally disable gang rape victim in August, 2012. RN rescued her in an abandoned area of the Valley and admitted her in the Mental Hospital. But she is in urgent need of the operation for her prolapsed uterus. She is undergoing a treatment in but still her family members are not in sight, so she is supported and cared by Raksha Nepal to date.
We are very grateful to all our donors who has supported Raksha Nepal in our cause to help the sexually exploited girls and women. We also would like to request for your continued support in the days to come.
Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
Menuka was only 16-years-old when she began working as a singer at a localrestaurant to pay for her school tuition. During that time, she witnessedthe mistreatment and abuse of other women working beside her, and sheempathetically offered to tutor them in reading and writing so theycould someday escape their current professions. Four years later, atthe young age of 20, Menuka founded Raksha Nepal: an organizationdedicated to empowering and educating sexually exploited women so thatthey may someday move onto a better life.Since it was founded in 2004, Raksha Nepal has helped over 1500 womenand girls by providing them with sewing, cooking, handicraft, driving, andbeautician training. Anita, an experienced local volunteer, explainedthe challenges of finding and working with sexually exploited women,such as late working hours and resistance from employers. Still, Rakshahas a team of “field motivators” who visit and recruit women at theirwork places.Since January, 39 women have completed training this year while evenmore are currently going through the process. Raksha hopes to raiseenough funds on GlobalGiving to help 150 more women! The staff showedus the training rooms, which were small but tidy, and filled withnecessary tools like sewing machines. Raksha Nepal also offerscounseling for women who suffered sexual violence. There is a separatecounseling room full of comfortable sofas where trained socialpsychologists come to speak with the women.In addition to helping women, Raksha Nepal has supported nearly 600children whose mothers work in sexually exploitative industries.Currently 22 children live at Raksha Nepal, keeping them shelteredfrom exploitation and allowing their mothers to earn a living andtrain for new skills. After touring their cozy and cheerful dormitory,we had the pleasure of meeting the children. Dressed neatly in theirschool uniforms, they greeted us with huge smiles, hugs, and kisses.After being draped with flowers and scarves, Menuka and most of the 13person staff took us up to the roof to see the view of Kathmandu.Although the city was lovely, it couldn’t compare to what we had foundinside the building: love, dedication, and genuine care light up thewalls of Raksha Nepal in a way that made it very hard for us to leave.
Background of the Organizations
Raksha Nepal (RN)-(Protection Nepal), established in 2004, is an NGO dedicated to help those women who, in order to support themselves and their children, are forced into prostitution. RN helps women’s transition into safe occupation where they can earn a decent living and assure a secure and steady future. RN is determined and committed towards the overall welfare of the women involved in compulsive prostitution, so that their daughters would not have to follow the same path as their mothers.
The Problem and RN’s long-term Goal
Nepali women face multiple forms of discrimination. Existing cultural and legal inequalities are also some of the causes of abuse and exploitation. Illiterate, poor and lack of any skills, these women, who seek to escape their situation, are tricked or compelled in to sex work. The most exploitative businesses are the massage parlors, dance bars and cabin restaurants of the growing urbanization. A decade long conflict in Nepal has aggravated the problem. Rural women are forced to leave their homes and seek jobs in the cities. Once there, they realize that the only employment available is in businesses which eventually force them into sex work as prostitution.
RN’s 7 years of experience has enhanced the organization to deal with different target groups as well as with other stakeholders. The ultimate goal of this project would be to form a strong union or association of the target groups. This will be an important campaign for RN. The Union ultimately will be acting as an advocate for workers in the entertainment sectors. The workers, as such are the most marginalized groups in the country, who face a higher risk of gender based violence than in any other job sector. This is serious issue and RN is stepping up and working with the beneficiaries to tackle this problem in the work place violence.
Specific Goal of the Program
The specific goal of this program is to empower and economically strengthen the target groups of the Raksha Nepal (Support for 150 Sexually Expolited Women in Nepal) by providing alternative livelihood skills, thereby encouraging those women to change their current occupation to a respective one.
RN’s has been working with the sexually exploited women, who work at dance bars, cabin restaurants, massage parlors and restaurants, as well as displaced women and children at risk of exploitation. The project will be implemented from among the target groups of the Raksha Nepal where there are already 200 (this time) women in the group. In the course of the Advocacy project implementation, the target group is definitely going to increase. At the same time the demand for the alternative skill will also is foreseen to be increased.
Objectives of the program
Activities of the program
Out comes of the Project
Raksha Nepal had been conducted various vocational/skill trainings program support through various individual donors in Global Giving on project Support for 150 sexually Exploited Women in Nepal - # 10071. RN successfully provided different trainings to 40 women based on their interest in starting phase. RN evaluated all the participants of their attendance during the training period; very active and sincere with their part hope they will use their skill on escape them from the current status.
Overall Impact of this project
As mentioned before in proposal about the expected results; after completed the additional project we can say we start achieved our expect. Women and girls who were not involved in those training programs them also interested now. Raksha trained and organized strongly at least to 40 members through these valuable trainings and also they seemed very strong and self confident after getting these trainings. Some has decided start their own business and some had decided do with best performance in their same business.
Raksha will help up these women and girls will interact and discuss with related stakeholders. Now, trained women and girls can strongly talk with police and others who do misbehave intentionally; they will show their skill on their own small business near future. All most all women and girls also excited to know about the seed money in new project; they are very hopeful to will start their own small business and they will earn money themselves in near future. This project playing positive vital role in group member’s periphery; everyone excited even staff also and they gained trust with group members.
Raksha Nepal has been decided in near future or next program will provide them some seed money to selected members (who were graduadation )for establish their own business and also they have collected money in group so they can also mobilize that fund. So, Raksha will at any cost will establish them as their wishes.
Raksha Nepal will coordinate with other related stakeholders or donors for support them and will support them for raise their voice strongly among the duty bearers. Rest of the 110 women and girls will starting their trainings when manage the estimated fund even Raksha Nepal will coordinating with other donors for that. This training program will continue for selected group members and we will also coordinate with global giving team for fund raising.
Thanks to all Respected donors
I would like to thank all supporters of our project and Global Giving team for the generous fund support to our project during the challenge. Our project is going to achieve huge success, and that success would not have been possible without all of your help. The support funds will be used to skill trainings to needy women and girls, so you are truly making a difference in women's lives. Thank you on behalf of Raksha Nepal, and from those women and girls who are really need your support in future also.In future we are also trying to getting fund for rest of 110 more women and girls for skill trainings this year.