There are people who show more courage than others, those that do not give up when they encounter setbacks, but fight on for a higher purpose. Durga Ghimire, founder of ABC Nepal is one of them. She has fought for human rights since her student days, and against human trafficking and sex trafficking over the last twenty years. She sees obstacles, but will work hard to find a way to overcome them.
I have had the opportunity to take part in Durga's work over several years, and she is a true inspiration for my family and I. Sharing this story is one way for me to help raise awareness around the global issue of trafficking, and will, I hope, inspire others in the same way I was, to get involved with organisations and individuals around the world like Durga and ABC Nepal.
Durga Ghimire is a courageous woman fighting against human trafficking, especially child trafficking and child prostitution. She belongs to one of the highest castes in Nepal and, because of this, people listen to what she has to say. She has earned enormous respect amongst the people, as well as the government and the diplomatic world over the years.
"At the Indian border, Durga has saved hundreds of girls from being sold to the seedy brothels and the cynical sex industry."
As a young student in the 1970s, Durga Ghimire was active in the political movement for the restoration of democracy in Nepal, and protested against the regime in power at the time. She was imprisoned three times and spent thirteen months in prison for her political activities.
"But that didn't scare her off"
Since then she has devoted almost fifty years of her life to transform the lives of others for the better, especially around human and equal rights. For more information on her outstanding accomplishments see her biography page at: http://abcnepal.org.np/biography-of-mrsdurga-ghimire
Back in 1987 Durga was the first women to raise the issue of human trafficking in Nepal. She knew it was a critical issue but the government and other agencies paid it no attention at the time.
Durga founded the National Network Against Trafficking in Women and Children in 1990. There was no other organisation except ABC Nepal that initiated rescue and rehabilitation in the trafficking sector and had organised the national convention related to trafficking.
In June 2013, my family and I made our first trip to Kathmandu to learn more about what steps we could take to prevent human trafficking.
We visited ABC Nepal, and this was the first time we met this extraordinary woman in person.
Durga introduced us to one of her successful projects, building transit homes for young people who have been victims of human trafficking and sex slavery. These provide safe clean places to live, with water, food and rehabilitation. They offer these children and young adults a fresh start and a chance to have a better life, thanks to Durga and her fantastic crew.
Previously, we had been involved with fundraising activities remotely to support Durga's initiatives. Actually meeting the children who are now recovering, and walking into the house you sponsored, is a completely different experience to receiving donations and raising funds for an important cause far away, at a luxury gala event in Stockholm, Sweden.
In November 2015, we came back to Nepal, Kathmandu and the ABC Nepal transit home. This meeting not only inspired me, but also my daughters Olivia and Denise, who were now a junior and a senior at high school. For Olivia's final school project, she chose to make a documentary about human trafficking and sex slavery in Nepal, and Denise choose to work very closely with the girls in Nepal as a volunteer and also a fundraiser back home, all to help raise awareness and support Durga's work. https://youtu.be/uX_JUpBh2-s
We were always welcomed with warm smiles and flowers from women in beautiful, colourful dresses in one of ABC Nepal's transit homes. One of Durga's successful hands-on initiatives.
In April 2016 we were back again to visit, and had the opportunity to meet the very brave men and women who work closely with the Nepalese and Indian police to prevent girls from being transported over the open border to India in Brijatnagar. These men are both sponsored with funds raised by my family initiative "DoGoodNow".
"Imagine that you are ten years old and live in Kathmandu together with your mother, five siblings and your stepfather. One day your parents are persuaded by a "middle-man" to sell you to a textile factory in India, to earn money to send home to your family. The middle-man takes you on a bus with false passport and documentation to cross the open border to India, where he sells you to a brothel."
Why India? Because brothels are illegal in Nepal, but not in some places in India.
Also, it is so easy to transport people over the border illegally, in trucks, the trunks of cars or by bus and train. The controls at the border are poor, and corruption is widespread. Therefore, it is imperative to be present and disseminate this information around the Nepalese villages, where there is illiteracy, and where news of the outside world rarely reaches.
In light of this, Do Good Now sponsors awareness programs through ABC Nepal via information campaigns in schools and 'street dramas', where ABC Nepal staff, together with the police perform theatre in the streets to educate the local population about how easy it is to be tricked and sold into slavery. We also sponsor and try to raise more funds to build more transit houses.