Andrea Ubhi Supports Vulnerable Women in Nepal
April 1, 2014
Andrea Ubhi is working with the charity, Asha Nepal, to support vulnerable women who have been subjected to sex trafficking. She visited Nepal in April 2014, to find out more about the charity, which is a human rights organisation working towards the social and economic empowerment of women and children who have been affected.
Andrea visited a ‘Reintegration Centre’ in Kathmandu which houses girls that have just been rescued from India after being sex-trafficked. The Centre which is run by Asha Nepal, houses approximately 16-20 girls. When the girls arrive at the Centre they are often deeply traumatised and so receive counselling and health screening, including HIV, TB, Hepatitis testing. They stay at the centre for between six months to a year to gain emotional and health stability, skills training and employment advice to ensure they are able to move on.
Andrea has learnt a lot of about the plight of the girls while visiting Nepal.
“A common story is that many of the girls come from the rural hillside villages, where life is incredibly tough. They are promised work in the city by "friends", so they are sent away by their families: they can be sold on several times before finding themselves in the brothels of major cities in India, Mumbai, Delhi Kolkata etc. There they are forced into prostitution, often having to see up to 20 men a day just to receive food. They are forced to have abortions (sometimes several) if they get pregnant. When the girls are rescued and returned to Nepal, a big problem is that they are unable to return to their home villages...for fear of being re-sold by their relatives, being a social outcast and severely bullied.”
Once at the centre, each girl is supported by a case manager and welfare team, funded by Asha, who are responsible for their welfare while in their care and after they leave, tracking health, social welfare, housing, schooling and employment. Where relevant, their schooling is funded by Asha and when finished they have access to a full time job coordinator who teaches them about job interviews and helps them to find suitable, safe and self-sustaining employment. Asha also finds housing for groups of girls and has set up trial cottage industry with weaving looms to provide employment.
“Thousands of women and children in Nepal suffer daily from extreme human rights abuses – sex trafficking, sexual and physical abuse, child labour, and discrimination due to gender, caste and HIV/Aids. We are fighting for women's social status to be raised, to help victims break free from this vicious, violent circle. We aim to give them the hope, and the opportunities and independence to create a new world for themselves.”
Peter Bashford, one of the founders of Asha Nepal
While Andrea was at the Centre she carried out dental check ups on all the girls and children, providing toothbrushes, and teaching them good oral hygiene. She has started a dental fund so that the girls who have dental issues can see a local dentist. She has also been providing business support for the management team and financing of the projects, and has just been elected as a trustee.
Plans for fund raising include a sponsored trek in the Himalayas, Easter 2015 and the team at Andrea Ubhi York are doing a sponsored bike ride to raise funds for a new foster home in Kathmandu to house 5 more rescued girls.