Sunday, January 4, 2009
I have not yet met Anuradha Koirala but I really hope to one day.
She is a widely recognized activist and lecturer who has dedicated her life to combating the sexual exploitation of Nepal's women and children. A former professor of English, she is the founder and Executive Director of Maiti Nepal and a world class hero.
Maiti Nepal is a vibrant organization combatting the dark underground of sex trafficking. Maiti Nepal works by:
***Direct intervention at the border with India. Twelve Intervention Center sites are staffed by volunteers who themselves were formally trafficked and understand the strategies of the traffickers. Located at the outposts are 'safe houses' providing shelter or safe passage home for the girls and women.
***Offering its rescued young women education with on-the-job practical training in Food Service, Carpentry, Massage Therapy, Baking, Mechanics, Hairdressing, Housekeeping, Security Guarding, Floriculture or Handcrafts
***Participating in infectious disease health research. Recent publications are found in JAMA and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Maiti Nepal's participation in the identifying and tracking of diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and Hepatitis among the women is critical to crafting appropriate responses.
***Providing access to health and mental health services.
***Establishing hospice care. Maiti Nepal has established two hospices for the treatment of the women and children who are terminally ill.
The work of Maiti Nepal is not without risk. The criminal elements that "deliver" young girls are a ruthless enemy and have political connections at the highest levels in India and Nepal. Maiti Nepal's main office in Kathmandu has been destroyed twice and Maiti workers must travel with a bodyguard when overseeing rescue missions in India.
Anuradha Koirala gives gives much of the credit to her largely volunteer staff. Most of the workers are rescued girls and young women who are healthy enough to work. "They need little incentive from me," states Ms Koirala. "They are working to help their sisters and they know the horror of the victims." She adds, "Society rejects me and my girls, but they are the most important thing in my life."
There is a US based group that supports Maiti Nepal. Here's the link: