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 local
restaurant to pay for her school tuition. During that time, she witnessed
the mistreatment and abuse of other women working beside her, and she
empathetically offered to tutor them in reading and writing so they
could someday escape their current professions. Four years later, at
the young age of 20, Menuka founded Raksha Nepal: an organization
dedicated to empowering and educating sexually exploited women so that
they may someday move onto a better life.
Since it was founded in 2004, Raksha Nepal has helped over 1500 women
and girls by providing them with sewing, cooking, handicraft, driving, and
beautician training. Anita, an experienced local volunteer, explained
the challenges of finding and working with sexually exploited women,
such as late working hours and resistance from employers. Still, Raksha
has a team of “field motivators” who visit and recruit women at their
Since January, 39 women have completed training this year while even
more are currently going through the process. Raksha hopes to raise
enough funds on GlobalGiving to help 150 more women! The staff showed
us the training rooms, which were small but tidy, and filled with
necessary tools like sewing machines. Raksha Nepal also offers
counseling for women who suffered sexual violence. There is a separate
counseling room full of comfortable sofas where trained social
psychologists come to speak with the women.
In addition to helping women, Raksha Nepal has supported nearly 600
children whose mothers work in sexually exploitative industries.
Currently 22 children live at Raksha Nepal, keeping them sheltered
from exploitation and allowing their mothers to earn a living and
train for new skills. After touring their cozy and cheerful dormitory,
we had the pleasure of meeting the children. Dressed neatly in their
school uniforms, they greeted us with huge smiles, hugs, and kisses.
After being draped with flowers and scarves, Menuka and most of the 13
person 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 found
inside the building: love, dedication, and genuine care light up the
walls of Raksha Nepal in a way that made it very hard for us to leave.
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