Asha Nepal was founded in 1998 by Peter Bashford. Inspired by an emotive article by Sue Carpenter about girls trafficked from Nepal into the brothels of India, Peter travelled to Nepal to find out the facts for himself. He returned determined to help the thousands of young women and girls affected by this evil trade, and with Sue established the charity Asha Nepal (AN).
For several years AN supported existing NGOs in Nepal and rescue organisations in India. Until threatened with legal action by the Indian police, Peter worked on brothel raids with the late Balkrishna Acharya, founder of Rescue Foundation.
In 2004, with the NGO Shakti Samuha, Peter set up a reintegration centre in Kathmandu for rescued trafficking victims, which greatly informed AN's understanding of the long-term effect of trafficking on young women and girls. This was enhanced by an in-depth research project headed by Peter in 2005-6, A Sense of Direction.
Having gained greater experience and understanding, Asha Nepal began to initiate and manage its own projects, establishing in 2006 the Job Coordination Scheme to support trafficking victims into meaningful employment, followed in 2008 by the Children’s Reintegration Centre.
In 2012, AN carried out a further research study, Looking Towards Tomorrow, to assess the long-term effects of trafficking on rescued and returned women and girls.
Aware of the incipient effects of long-term residential care on children, AN opened the first of its Foster Homes in 2011, offering a home in a more family-orientated environment to children in need of longer-term care. The second Foster Home opened in 2014. With the same ethos of keeping life as close to normal as possible for children, Asha increased its outreach team in 2013 to support at-risk children to stay within their own family, through the innovative Family Preservation Programme.