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.
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