The Difference at Safe Nepal
The safe house offers women and girls involved in the sex trade the opportunity to come out from that life and ultimately be re-established to their families and society. We have many instances in which we rescue girls, and the way they speak is very rough. After being here for some time in this home environment,we encourage and teach them how they should treat their father and mother. We encourage them to get in contact with their family, and their family wonders,“She talks differently now; she is really nice and polite. She used to badmouth us when she spoke; now she respects us. What happened?” This home can be a help for the family, as well as for their daughter.
In order for their families to welcome them back, they need to see the difference in their lives; the girls’ outlook and behavior must be improved, and they need to know their daughter is capable of supporting herself and contributing to the family. After the women are rescued, they are asked what they want to learn – it is not about what others want for them, they must take ownership for their future. After this training, they are encouraged to go back to their families and to their homes with a good attitude and good skills, to establish a small business and start earning a livelihood.
This is very different from other rescue organizations. There are many rescue operations that we partner with, and they don’t think for the longer term solution. Whereas we tell the women they must get out of the sex industry, the other NGOs may go to the brothels with a van of condoms and distribute them and tell them to be safe. They may have a drop-in center for the girls on the street, where they can go for temporary help. They can stay there and get treatment, and after a week or so they are on their own. They may present an awareness program, but they don’t tell them to totally stop sex work and do something else. We as a safe home do that, and we recognize that as they come here and come to know their worth, they will have a longer term solution.
At the safe house, women and girls are rescued from different parts of Nepal and are brought in through government or police referral, as well as inter-agency cooperation. Because their success in a program is dependent upon their involvement from the beginning, they commit to a job training track before choosing to come to the safe house. Skills and training are provided based upon each woman’s desire and capability. We ask them what they would like to do other than what they did by force. Some may want to learn cosmetology or tailoring, while others want to attend school. They are encouraged to build a plan for their future. After choosing a career path, basic and advanced training classes take 8-10 months to complete. Younger girls in need of education are sent to school and will complete job training as they grow older; those older girls who also want to continue their studies are supported and encouraged to do so as well.
I think when we contribute to an organization like this, directly or indirectly, that will help to change somebody’s life. And through that life, society can change. Her family can change and society can change. Our investment in this kind of work will last for a long time.