The April 2015 Nepal Earthquake struck with fierce intensity that left many devastated. With a magnitude of 7.8Mw a country was shaken and the aftermath felt worldwide. Through all the trials following the earthquake, hope still can be found for those who look. For the last 14 years, Women’s Protection Center Nepal (WPC) and Hetauda House have been fighting to eradicate human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children. Their major programs include advocacy, healthcare, educational & preventative workshops in surrounding Nepali towns and villages, safe housing, and HIV/AIDS awareness & training. Construction for Change is proud to announce our upcoming partnership with WPC to rebuild the Hetauda House in the Makwanpur District of Nepal. The current safe house, a rental, while operational was damaged by the 2015 earthquake and our mission is to provide them with a new, sustainable place to continue their important work.
This new facility will be built on land purchased by the organization’s founder, Lila Ghising, and will provide a secure home for women and their children where case management, advocacy-based counseling, tutoring and educational development, and vocational skills training programs will be available. WPC Nepal targets women and children who have been rescued from human trafficking or abusive homes. Their aim is to empower women and girls by providing:
- a safe environment with consistent routine;
- financial resources to complete their education through the 12th grade (Nepali schools are not free, and students who can afford it typically complete after 10th grade);
- one-on-one and group tutoring;
- computer literacy training;
- culturally appropriate counseling and therapy;
- six-month vocational training program (sewing & hand crafting skills), and subsequent employment/subsidized marketplace access through the Nari Alliance
WPC Nepal, Hetauda House and Construction for Change have a shared vision that this facility will inspire and empower women and girls to take an active role in changing attitudes and culture in Nepal.
Two girls in Nepal — Courtesy of Studio JKoe
Take Priya, for example…
Priya’s process of healing highlights the amazing impact that WPC and the Hetauda House can have on the trajectory of one’s life.
Her alcoholic father was killed while she was young, presumably by Maoist rebels. Her mother tried her best to work as a maid in people’s homes but struggled to find work. Due to this, Priya and her brothers had to scavenge for food on the streets. Priya couldn’t go to school because her mom couldn’t afford it. In fact, her mom could barely even feed her. What food she did scrape together, she fed her sons first because in Nepal, girls and women come last. Kidnapping Priya would have been an easy task for any trafficker who happened to spot her roaming the streets. This was her life. No hope. No future. No education.
For Priya, all it took was a single opportunity. In 2010 she found the WPC, but because of its size there was not enough room for her at the time. Luckily, Priya got in after waiting a full year and has not looked back since. She has been at the top of her class in school almost from the beginning. Being the natural born leader she is, Priya has strived to help others with their schoolwork, while studying voraciously. Her eyes have been set on the prize ever since she received her single chance. A girl who used to wander the streets and then watch her brothers eat first is now poised to become a doctor.
Wait a second. A female doctor? In Nepal? Four years ago, not long after arriving at the WPC safe home in Nepal, Priya said she wanted to be a nurse. After thriving in her new home, she was hungry for even more.
She wants to be a doctor;
She wants to give back to her community;
She wants to heal people who are broken.
When we say girls in Nepal are at risk for human trafficking, Priya is the kind of girl we have in mind. Priya battled her adversity to find an opportunity to be more, not only for herself but for her community as well.
Priya is just one example of the hope that surges in the WPC safe home in Hetauda, Nepal. She is why WPC Nepal and the Hetauda House work. And this work is why Construction for Change is proud to be partnering with these impactful organizations.
By providing early intervention through high-quality and consistent education, WPC Nepal strives to combat exploitation and decrease marginalization. Equally important, they seek to give women and girls the tools to find and express their self-value and independence. The home we seek to build will provide safety, solace, hope and promise for this community. It will undermine the efforts of human traffickers by expanding current agriculture programs, a chicken farm, clean water, and sanitation. These provisions will help alleviate the desperation driving so many Nepalese parents to trust that a stranger can promise their child a better future than they can. This structure symbolizes the effort to defy the caste system, through enabling educated, capable, confident, and employee women and girls to break the cycle of poverty and provide a better life for themselves.