karin feltman wrote -
Give the gift of freedom to a village in Nepal. Freedom from what? Shame.
Nepal is a source country for human trafficking- which means that in the vast majority of cases, the victims are taken FROM Nepal and trafficked outside. The reasons for this have to do with many factors, including things like poverty, lack of education, lack of skills, non-existent income generation opportunities, world-view, and more. So fighting human trafficking in Nepal takes a different form than it does in destination countries, like India and the Middle East. In Nepal, it is all about prevention- and awareness campaigns are not enough. To focus on awareness means staying one step behind the traffickers, as we have to wait to learn their methods before we can teach others to be aware of them. This is not acceptable. We aim to be proactive- and help the girls and women of Nepal help themselves by creating a healthy environment, where they can get the education, skills, and opportunities that they need in order to decrease their vulnerability and increase the likelihood of success. Join us!
All funds will be used by The Evangelical Alliance Mission to support Redeem Nepal, a Nepali NGO in their fight against marginalization in the village of Tyangthali, Nepal. It will provide them administrative support for one year, as they implement the follow projects:
Water system restoration, or WASH:
The earthquakes in 2015 completely destroyed this village's water system. This has decreased the health status of the village, and has increased their vulnerability in many ways.
- Girls and women are responsible for hauling water for household use in the village. Damaged water taps has made water hauling more difficult, and greatly increased the time it takes each day to haul water for the family. Many girls now have to stay home from school, due to the increased time it takes to complete household chores and haul water.
- Girls and women would previously bathe (covered with long piece of material tied around them) in communal taps on the road. These taps have been destroyed, and they now have to go into the forest to bathe in the river streams. This has made them more isolated, and increases their vulnerability to sexual assault.
- Water-borne and sanitation related illnesses have increased due to inadequate hygiene from lack of water available. This has resulted in decreased school attendance, and has also increased the need for young girls and women to seek income or employment outside the village to help pay for these health costs (doctor's visits, medicine) for their family members. As a result, many also must drop out of school completely.
The plan- in 2017, a new water system will be built in the village of Tyangthali, according to government standards. This system will be designed by water engineers, and will include above ground water tanks, underground pipes, and one tap to service each 5 households. This will provide easy access, and clean water, for every member of the village.
The Red Tent project (aka Menstrual Hygiene project):
So how is menstruation tied to human trafficking? This is a complicated issue, and in order to limit space I will just give you the nutshell.
- In the villages, there is a complete lack of understanding of women's reproductive health. People don't even know the very basics, such as the fact that menstruation is tied to fertility and having babies. There is a huge amount of shame associated with "the curse" of menstruation.
- Girls and women also do not have adequate means or knowledge to manage their hygiene each month. Tampons and pads are not available, and even if they were, they would not have the money to buy them and there would still be a disposal problem, as there is no trash service like in the city. Most use rags or leaves to try to stop of the flow of blood. This is ineffective and messy.
- As a result, over 66% of the girls do not attend school at all during their periods! They miss an average of 2 months of school each year. Their education in the village is already poor, at best, and missing 2 months of an already inadequate eduction makes it nearly impossible for them to pass exams and advance in their education to the point where they would be able to get a job.
- This contributes to their vulnerability and forces them into high-risk employment, like in-home servitude in a foreign country. These jobs have a high incidence of sexual abuse, trafficking, and even suicide.
Providing menstrual hygiene education and eco-friendly sanitary pads can literally save their life!
The plan- We will start with education. Everyone in the village will learn about women's health, and the role that menstruation plays in fertility. We will stress the miracle of birth and try to decrease the stigma and shame associated with menstruation. We will evaluate the school to help them become "girl friendly" and provide facilities and water, so that girls can manage their hygiene privately and without shame. We will also provide eco-friendly, washable and reusable sanitary pads to all girls and women of menstruation age in the village, to provide them dignity and the ability to manage their hygiene effectively and privately.
Women's income generation project:
One of the keys to decreasing vulnerability is to increase a woman's potential to earn income for herself and her family, without having to use high-risk means. In order to do this, she needs marketable skills, as well as income earning opportunities.
The plan- We will be providing sewing machines and 3 months of sewing/tailoring training to qualifying women in the village. This will give them skills that they can use both in and out of the village, as well as earning-potential. We will also train some of the women to make the eco-friendly washable, reusable sanitary pads to sell both in the village (as replacements) and to us, for use in our trainings in other villages.