Tuesday, 25 September 2012

ABC/ Nepal

There is no doubt that Uma has a wide network of  contacts in Nepal. Having spoken to her about the charity's potential foray into  issues of child trafficking and prostitution, I met up with her sister-in-law who is working in human rights and women's issues,alongside  the United Nations here in Nepal.

She told me that much research needs to be done before embarking on this complex area of work. And the best way to start will be through a NGO (non-governmental organisation, -a charitable organisation which is part funded by the govenrment and donations home and abroad) There are many women refuges here, notably Maiti Nepal and ABC/ Nepal. Imagine my delight when a meeting was arranged for Uma and me with the president of ABC/ Nepal yesterday morning

The president, Ms Durga Ghimire is a very inspiring lady. With her background in Law and Economics, she chose to turn her back on a prominent  academic career following a chanced encounter with a child victim. That was over 30 years ago. She is an activist, fighting for the rights of the  women particularly those who have been abused through violence, prostitution and gender discrimination . She has travelled  to many parts of the world,attempting to  learn and  understand about the factors and background contributing to child trafficking and prostitution.She lived in UK  for 2 years.During that time, she worked with BBC on programs concerning Nepal. What a learned and well informed lady.

Through the work of ABC/Nepal, much information have been gathered around the contributing factors to child trafficking, leading to  prostitution.The major causes are extreme poverty and hardship;lack of awareness; low literacy rates among women; low social status among girls and women;lack of employment opportunity resulting in lack of financial independence;polygamy and domestic violence.It has been observed that parental intention is one of the most important causes of girl trafficking-where parents willingly and knowingly sell their daughters into the trade. Abductions and fake marriages are also used as lures. Sometimes pimps tempt the Young girls with  promise of good job and decent salary. Being uneducated and unexposed to the cruel realities of the world, these girls often end up in the brothels of the big cities like Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi.

When the girls  were rescued, they faced severe physical and mental health problems. They  also faced rejection by their families and the communities they live in. It is against this background that ABC/Nepal started its ground breaking work in supporting and nurturing the rescued girls through counselling,education, training and where appropriate skills development, especially for those who are not literate. Many of the girls (over 70%) were diagnosed with HIV&Aids.They not only have to overcome the stigma, but to  learn  to live with the condition. It is evident that with the acquisition of a life skill, the girsl can become financially independent. That is a vital step in building self esteem and confidence. Not only it helps to alleviate poverty,it is also  a strong counter to  being abused and submissive in a male dominated society.

It is acknowledged that this is a global problem. However it is one which is accelerating at an alarming rate in Nepal. There needs to be a lot more collaborations among the agencies involved. More outreach work like street drama and projects aim at raising awareness must be continued.There are so much work still to do

Uma and I went away both humbled and inspired by this lady, and the work she is still trying to do

So how do we, as a charity fits in all these? Well I think the charity can play a very tiny role , possibly in the future , when more research has been done, and when we have access to more funding. When the time comes, the charity can help through an affiliation with a NGO like ABC/Nepal. You never know....... pigs just might fly........

Much of the information have been sourced from the work of ABC/Nepal.It is hoped that the biog will help the reader to understand better  the very serious issues faced by Nepal and other developing countries.

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