Nepal: Celebrating a recent graduation at our 'She Has Hope' rehabilitation home; volunteers travel to teach girls new skills; Development Coordinator's on-site report
Photo: This proud and brave group of girls rescued from human trafficking early last year is our latest class of graduates from the rehabilitation home's trade school.
March 13, 2020. Today we bring you a news round-up from our programs in Nepal. First, we want to share some older news we never got a chance to report on due to the busy nature of year-end. Here's a happy report from our field director which he sent us in November:
"I have good news! We found a new rental house and shifted there last Friday. This house has 12 rooms and is 2,500 sq. ft. This house is in the same location, only five minutes walking distance from the old rehab home. All the girls are busy setting up everything. The owner of the house is constructing a security wall from his own expenses. The monthly house rent is $784. Thank you for your prayers and support for this new rental house — the girls are very happy here!"
The construction of the security wall has been completed, and it is 7 feet high surrounding the 5,476 sq. ft. of our new property which includes a garden. Our only remaining needs for the new rental house are to raise money to paint the exterior and to purchase a 1,000 liter plastic water tank. Thus, we need to raise $680 for the paint, $1,000 for the labor costs, and $150 for the water tank to store clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
In other good news, 9 girls (ages 17-26) graduated from the trade school we operate at our rehab home this past August. In order to graduate, the girls had to learn how to make popular Nepali dress designs and key ring designs using woolen yarn, how to cook popular Nepali cuisine, and how to plant vegetables in the rehab home garden. The girls were happy to harvest 11 pounds of tomatoes which they used in their daily meals.
To celebrate the graduates' success, in September our native team organized a special ceremony where the girls received graduation certificates, and a party where they enjoyed dancing and singing, having their photographs taken, and feasting on a meal of delicious food.
Now the girls are helping their parents on their family farms, growing corn, wheat, rice, and potatoes, and raising cows and goats. When they harvest the crops they will use the food for family meals, but after they sell the animals at market, those proceeds will help to fund the girls' own tailoring businesses which they are planning to open in their villages next month.
In October we rescued 13 girls (ages 15-22) with the help of the police and local NGO's of India and Nepal, and they came to live within the safety of our rehab home. Later in the month, one of our faithful advisory board members and her sister-in-law traveled to Nepal to teach the girls how to make shoulder bags and 10 different jewelry designs. One of the jewelry designs the girls learned how to make is the Gabby necklace, which is currently featured on our Impact Products Shop.
Many of the girls already had very good sewing skills due to their training at the rehab home. Our volunteers had patterns and purchased beautiful fabrics from the local markets. The girls worked on their first shoulder bag with their sewing teacher. Then our volunteers worked with the girls on the bags. Before too long, the best artisans among the girls began helping the other girls with their bags. It only took one afternoon for the girls to make approximately 30 shoulder bags — we are very proud of their accomplishments and grateful to our volunteers who traveled so far to encourage the girls with a new skill.
In addition to learning how to make these crafts, the girls taught our volunteers Nepali songs and dances, and our volunteers taught the girls how to do line dancing. One of our volunteers reported: "The girls are filled with joy. They get so much benefit out of their friendships and healing together. Tailoring is a very valuable skill in Nepal, and they feel empowered to be getting this education."
In February, our Development Coordinator, Kelly McGee, traveled to Nepal to learn more about our rehab home firsthand, and to meet and encourage the girls. Kelly reported:
"My first impression: I think everyone was nervous, myself included. Regardless of the huge language barrier, they all introduced themselves, told me how old they were, and what part of Nepal they are from. I did not think about the girls being from different parts of the country, so that was enlightening. Some girls had to take a bus for two days to arrive at our program. I also learned there are different variations of Nepali, so some of the girls spoke a tongue not even our field director was able to translate. He relied on the other girls to translate and he passed on their answers to me.
Every single girl had a smile on her face every time I come to the home, even if they didn’t know I was there. I would walk in on their free time and they would be in their beds together laughing and telling jokes. They are like sisters.
The girls are currently doing a practice of a traditional Nepali dress, head to toe. Next week they will have a test to show what they have learned. This week they are able to ask questions and the teacher will help them along the way. But next week they will have to show what they’ve learned and put it to the test.
They have learned to cook meals and they all rotate every morning and night to cook a meal for everyone. They learn to garden and tend to household duties. They learn to crochet with different patterns and they can all make a variety of different things. Before the program began they did not even know what the needle was for. They learn to sew and the teacher shows them the ins and outs of the sewing machine when they arrive. They are all very good and fast with the sewing machines now. The girls planted green beans, coriander, and garlic which will be harvested in May."
We are happy to report that our current group of 13 girls (ages 16-21) have now been at our home for a full course of rehabilitation and trade school training and will be graduating any day now!
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