This story of Kalpana starts when she was 10 years old. Her mother committed suicide and her father remarried immediately after her mother’s funeral.
Kalpana was oldest child in her family, and her step-mother would verbally and physically abuse her, accusing her of not doing the chores. She was not given any books or stationary for school, so she used to sell things in the street for traders so she could earn enough money to support her education. When she was 14, a women from her village who worked in Kathmandu, saw the family situation and began to persuade Kalpana to come to Kathamandu with her.
Kalpana was so excited about her new life, and did not understand what she was getting into. The women ran a massage parlour in the tourist district of Thamel, and she made Kalpana help unpaid.
When she was there. Kalpana fell in love with a man who used to come to the massage parlour and went to live with him in his home town. After a few months they found out that she was pregnant. They dsecided that to make a better future, her husband would go to India to work there and left her with in-laws. She was only 15, pregnant, alone and without any support from her own parents.
As time went by, she was abused by her in-laws so much that she could not bear it, so she decided to leave in-law’s home when she was 8 months pregnant. She came back to Kathmandu started to work in the massage centre again.
She was trafficked to India when she was nine months pregnant from that massage centre. She gave birth to a baby girl in an Indian brothel; her daughter was sent to child care by the brothel owner and made Kalpana work in the brothel. 7 months later, Kalpana managed to escape when there was a brothel raid. She successfully escaped but was worried to death about her daughter. She was able to explain the situation with Indian Police, who helped her rescue her daughter and sent them back to Nepal.
When she came back to Nepal, she had nowhere to go, so ended up working in a restaurant. There, she came in contact with an organisation who brought her to a safe home. In the safe home, she and her baby were well looked after. She took various vocational training courses. Her daughter needed to go to school. So her daughter was referred to Asha Nepal. Now Kalpana's daughter is in class 4, and living in one of our Family Group Homes.
Still Kapana hasn’t found a stable home for herself and she has remarried several times. Due to her instability in relationships, we have not been successful reintegrating her daughter with her. Asha Nepal has tried to help Kalpana so much, but due to the long-term impact of her traumatic life experiences, she is presently unable to commit to looking after her children. Her daughter will probably need our support until she is 18 or older.
Living with social discrimination
We met Sailu in 2008, when she was 12 years old and not going to school. About 2 years earlier, when she was 10, her father had been so ill, that the family could not afford her education. She was sent to work as a helper in a region a long way away from home. Her father died, and the family found out that he had HIV which he had passed on to the mother showed positive but all the children were safe.
Her mother was only 26 years old, and she tried to stay at home and look after her daughters, but the youngest was only 3 years old. For her it was very difficult as nobody in her village would help. If she was working in the fields and the girls had any problems, they had to wait for their mother to come home, as their neighbours would have nothing to do with them. There was discrimination from everyone in their community. Unable to cope, Sailu's mother took refuge in an organisation working with HIV positive women. Before leaving, she paid her sister in-law to send her daughters to school in Kathmandu. However one day, when thier mother came visiting, she found them locked in the room by themselves. When her sister in-law came home, she claimed that she was looking for an organisation to send them to.
Asha rescued these three sisters and have looked after them ever since, with the help of another organisation.
Sailu graduated from school 5 years later. She went to train as a tour guide in the mountains. She has since married and had a daughter.
Asha continues to check in on Sailu. We encouraged her to complete her grade 12 education and now she is studying for a BA in English at University.
Enduring domestic violence
“I cannot thank you enough for giving me my dream of working as a nurse, and thank you for being there on every step of my course” says Kala.
Kala was with us for one of the shortest periods of residential service, but the support from her community for her mother and siblings made this day come true.
Once there was a time that Kala, her mother and her siblings were in danger from her own father. He was violent to the point of almost killing all of them. He threw her mother unconscious into a septic tank to try to murder her, but the local police saved her and sent her to get help in another organisation. That organisation referred the children to us for safety and education. Kala stayed with us for just a few weeks, her sister for a year, and the youngest brother for 3 years. We worked with Kala's mother to help her get on her feet.
And now their situation is very different.
The mother works as an office helper, Kala has completed her nursing and now has a nursing job. The younger sister just completed grade 12 and their brother is studying in grade 8 .
This family comes from a very low caste, called the Untouchables, but seeing Kala grown into such a confident, capable young women is our dream come true. Together, we are very excited for her future.
Hope after rape
Aarti used to live happily with her father, mother and her five brothers and sisters. They were very poor, but happy. Then a tragedy occurred, and one of the sons died. Because of this, her father lost his mind, he could not bear the pain and he committed suicide.
After his death, the family became helpless with only her mother left to take responsibility for the young children. Her mother started working to feed her children but it was not easy. So her mother decided to go to India hoping to earn enough money to look after her family. After discussing with the girls, her mother left them in the guardianship of a neighbour and went to India. The children started working in their neighbour's house. They were living in a small hut next door to the neighbor. Village boys came to their hut to tease them. When her mother came to know about this, she came directly to Nepal and arranged her eldest daughter's marriage at the age of 15. However she returned to India soon after the wedding.
Suddenly the younger daughter started bed-wetting. The neighbour was not happy with her behaviour, so she called their mother. After coming to Nepal she learned that her young daughter was raped by a man approx 21 years old and she was threatened by death if she told anyone about the incident. Her mother went to the police and reported a case against him. Aarti and her elder sister was referred to Asha Nepal. She then started her school from class 6. At that time, she was very reserved. She did not used to talk and communicate well with others and was lost in her own thoughts. Her bed-wetting problem was still there and her cleanliness was poor. Her mother was not in frequent contact with them, as she was still in India for employment. However, Aarti was longing to be together with her family, even though her sister was close by in Asha. But this was not enough. More than anything, she wanted to be with her mother.
We referred her to the Counsellor and has had regular counselling since then. Slowly over time, her behavior has changed a lot. She seems to be happier these days. She understands the importance of education and is working hard. She is friendly and active and talks openly with her friends and can speak for herself. Meanwhile we kept updating the mother about her progress and also her need to be near her mother. Her mother also increased the frequency of phone calls longer conversations. We also kept asking about her plans for bringing the family together. Her sister who was staying with Asha has completed her class 10, is now living independently and is working and studying.
After several conversations with the mother and her older sister, her mother was persuaded to move back to Nepal. Now, her mother and elder sister are living together in a rented room near to Asha. They often come to visit Aarti. During the holidays, Aarti spends quality time with her mother and sister. This strengthens her mentally and emotionally. Asha Nepal is working with her mother and sister to improve their working environment through our Job Coordination Programme to increase their stability. Hopefully, they will be stable soon and we will be able to fulfill Aarti's greatest need to be with her family by reintegrating her with them.
Annie 's father died during the Maoist conflict, and her mother ran off with another man and they are now both alcoholics.
After the death of her father, her mother come to Kathmandu with Annie and her sister, and put both of them into two different families as domestic workers. Annie worked in the house of a family who ran a restaurant. Here, Annie was approached by a woman promising to take her to a good place where she could get good education.
Annie was taken to Sanepa, where a man and children was living in rent. He has just lost his wife, and was looking for a maid to look after the children. However soon, the man became sexually provocative and said he would marry her. Then he tried to rape Annie. Annie ran away but didn't know where to go, so she went back to the restaurant owner's family. They started to verbally abuse her and accuse her of being pregnant, making it impossible to stay there.
Luckily, she had heard of another organisation, CWISH in school, and called them for help. They referred her to Asha Nepal.
After she came to us, she started her education, getting a distinction! Annie has turned 18 now, and recently we reintegrated her into our community near to our office. She is living under the supervision of Asha, studying in grade 11 and is very focused in her education and is also working to support herself.
All names changed to protect identities.