Seventeen-year-old Neela usually wakes up at 4:30 to 5:00 am early in the morning for the past 2 years. She does not go to school, but goes to work in the kitchen, washing nearly 250 plates and utensils of the school kitchen. She has 8 members in her family. Her father is an alcoholic person: “Every day starts and ends with fighting and beating,” shares Neela.
Due to poor economic conditions and many family members, it’s quite difficult to fulfill all the basic needs. At grade six she used to go to the field to dig the land and sometimes working in others’ fields as daily labor to support her family. She is an innocent and hardworking girl. But one day, a lady visited her village and meets her family. She shares she works in Kathmandu and there are lots of opportunities in Kathmandu to work. Neela’s parents trusted her words and sent her with the lady.
When she came to Kathmandu she got a job in a school to work as a helper in the kitchen. While working there, it was very difficult for her to get work right away because she was a newcomer and had no relatives there, but she managed to work. “I would wash dishes and rewash them again because I was told they were not rinsed. I would work and most of the time they would complain about how a bad helper I was and my works. I would be ordered to do seven things at a single time and when there was a delay I would get humiliated. I had no place to go, no love to receive, and nothing to give. I felt I existed without meaning.”
Life was very hard; late night work in the winter season affected her health. “I feel hard to breathe and sometimes it suffocates a lot. I could never share my feelings with anyone. Most of the times I was afraid of what they were going to say and every day I felt unsecure by the guys around me because they used to come and tease me, touching my body.” She shared her story with one of the sisters who told her about Safe Family. She was interested to gain some skill so that she can change her own life by utilizing those skills. Now she has joined a beauty parlor course. “I have a dream to learn it and implement it practically so that I can support my sisters’ education to pay fees because they also work like me in the field and I don’t want the same thing to repeat again in their life. So I am doing my best to achieve my goals,” shares Neela.