2022 was the second year of our Children's Protection Programme in Janakpur. We are so proud and grateful to our local staff for running the project so well and in such a caring manner, and assisting so many girls that would otherwise have nowhere to turn to.
As it's our last report of the year, we thought we would report on a couple of cases (names have been changed) and how our work has changed their lives.
One of the girls that we assisted this year is 14 years old Elisha. She used to be repeatedly raped by a 70 year old neighbour over a 2 year period when her parents were at work and Elisha was left at home to look after her younger siblings. Elisha got pregnant as a result and the man forced her to have an abortion at a local pharmacy when she was 5 -6 months pregnant. The case has been filed against the man. When she was initially treated at the hospital, the doctors worried that she might not survive at all. She was in a terrible health condition. She then joined our safe house and is receiving counselling, care, education and we are working on her plans for the future.
Another heart breaking story is that of a 16 years old Rani who got involved with a 20 year old man that hid the fact that he was married. The girl got pregnant at the age of 14 and the man forced her to get abortion. She got pregnant again at the age of 15 and the man abandoned her. The girl and her family filed a rape case against the man and police have issued an arrest warrant but the man had escaped to India. He is in hiding now and we are trying to locate him. Rani joined our safe house when she was 5 months pregnant, however there were many complications with her pregnancy and we provided her with a hospital treatment for a few weeks. She almost lost her life and sadly the baby did not survive. She is under our care for now, receiving counselling, education and care. The parents are supportive but the community is causing issues due to the social taboos so Rani will stay with us until it is safe for her to go back home. In the meantime we are also working on her plans for the future – providing her with education and possible skills training (she would like to start a beautician course).
Sadly, these cases are not rare and we are being constantly notified of similar ones by the police, local hospital, or social workers. We are doing whatever we can but that is never enough. We have planned more community campaigns for 2023 to ensure that we can reach more people, local governments, schools. We are hoping that through this work we can minimise the scale of gender based violence in Province 2.
Happy holidays everyone and we will keep you updated with all the progress in the New Year! Thank you so much for all your support!
It feels like we're forever busy with our girls, and that's probably because we really are! Sabita is proactive with ensuring the girls are able to pursue all the interests and there is a real focus on education. We have one little boy who is attending the shelter during the day time - a month ago he wasn't even able to hold a pen, now he is proudly practising some Nepali letters. Hopefully we will be able to enrol him into a regular school in the next few months.
The girls have been inspired by Sabita's cooking skills (in her previous life she was also a chef!) and now they have a small stall twice a week, selling healthy Nepalese snacks at the market. They are loving it and are also learning about budgeting and savings at the same time.
And from really exciting news - we have a lovely new library!!! The girls have now 3 laptops, books and a lot of games. The library is also open once a week to local children. This is possible thanks to a very generous donation from the Didi Project, we are very very grateful.
Nisha has just gone to Kathmandu with one of our girls and her family who also need different types of assistance. It has been a very complicated case with many organisations involved trying to help them. Sadly, nobody was able to accommodate the girl who is a victim of rape, despite a lot of desperate calls from the father to many organisations. The moment we were informed about the situation, we took her in immediately. Poor girl was at a high risk of suicide and required very intensive counselling. Depending on the treatment in Kathmandu, the girl will probably go back to our shelter at some point soon and we will ensure she gets the best possible care.
We come across these kinds of cases all the time and it can get very tough on the staff. However, after the girl mentioned above got turned down by so many organisations, our staff were so happy to help her and one said to us 'I am so proud to be a part of Our Sansar, and now I really realize the importance of our work in this area'. This says everything. We will never refuse to help children that genuinely need assistance.
Thanks to your support we are able to help so many girls and boys - a massive thank you!
A lot has been happening at our girls shelter in recent months. The staff have been doing incredible work trying to assist as many girls (and boys on some occasions) as possible. We have heard some really sad stories and took action to make the lives of the children easier.
All the girls who are staying with us are receiving counselling and the staff are very active at working out the next steps for their future. We have had a lovely new Education Officer, Nisha, starting with us recently and we are already seeing a huge difference in the girls' attitudes to education. A few weeks ago, a mum of one of the girl's came for a visit, and the girl who had never been able to read or write before, insisted on teaching her mum how to write her own name. Our staff were really touched and now feel even more motivated to improve the overall levels of education.
A few of our older girls have been showing real interest in gaining more skills and we are trying to match them all with relevant training sessions. One of the girls is at the moment doing training at the local beauty parlor after which she will receive an official certification - this will enable her to find work in the future or even to open her own salon. She is practising new skills at the shelter everyday!
Rest of the girls are receiving regular tailoring training from our very skilled Project Assistant, Junu. The girls have already started making some really lovely things, including bags, hair bands and even their first dress! We are now planning possible expansion of the training to include more young ladies in the area.
In the meantime, our wonderful Social Worker who supervises the shelter is also assisting with the launch of our new project, and Nisha will also be helping with some educational parts so all in all - we are very busy but very productive.
We will keep you up to date with any future developments.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to imagine what the local staff in Nepal have to witness and experience on a daily basis. Some days are full of excitement when our girls make progress and some are just terrrible when they receive calls about another rape or another abandoned child.
Today it was one of those exciting days, but in a different way. We found out that the man who raped one of our girls and then was in hiding, got finally arrested! This is such an achievement and we are grateful to our staff that they have been pursuing the case so diligently. The man is from an influential family who have been putting a lot of pressure and threats on the girl and her family, and also on the police, not to prosecute. Unlucky for them, our wonderful Outreach Officer worked non stop trying to help the police locate the perpetrator, and it worked. Now, the prosecution will begin but even getting to the arrest stage in those sorts of cases in Nepal is almost like a miracle.
Then the excitement got a bit disrupted as we received a call about two very young children abandoned and with no parents. The police have brought them to us and we are now doing all the assessments and trying to work out the best course of action. At least they are safe and have nice shelter and delicious food provided (we have just lost our cook so in the meantime our social worker who also was trained as a chef is very happy to use her culinary skills during their lunches and spoils everyone with some amazing dishes).
Then in the afternoon we had a lovely catch up video call - and some of the girls popped their heads in to say hello. It was so lovely to see them giving hugs to Samikshya and Sabita and telling us about all the activities that they enjoy at the shelter. And together we have decided that they will be starting new football classes with Avinash, our Outreach Worker.
There are more exciting news coming shortly so we will send all those in the next report.
Thank you so much for all the support. It means so much!
Our recent work in Province 2 has proven to be very challenging and very rewarding at the same time. We have had to be very patient and acknowledge that sometimes things take 20 times longer in Nepal than we would like them to.
We are working very close with the police who refer any cases of girls needing assistance to us, and also we get cases referred by local social workers and active outreach work by our staff.
We have been helping a few rape (including gang rape) victims, sisters who saw their mum being killed by family members and then sent off to work in a hotel, girls trafficked to India who are now at the child helpline there and are being sent to us in the next few days. A lot of tragic stories and a lot of work to be done. Most challenging part is working with the communities who very often do not accept those girls back, or parents not wanting to prosecute the perpetrators as they worry that this will jeopardise future marriage of the girls. So we are now working on a long term plan of working with the communities, changing perception over there and setting up a mini legal clinic that would help bring justice for the girls.
Our counsellor is providing sessions for the girls that are in our direct care, but also to those that have a place to stay but come to visit us on a daily basis. Through the counselling and sessions with our social worker we are trying to build a plan for possible future training and job opportunities for the older girls.
Thank you so much for all the support - this means so much, and is really needed as the project expands.
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