Today I am going to share information about one of GO’s partners who responds so promptly to emails and Skype calls that I often think he never sleeps. GO Local Hero Mahesh Bhattarai has helped save hundreds of girls from an unimaginable fate.
Organization: General Welfare Pratisthan (GWP)
Location: Bara and Parsa Districts, Nepal
Context: In Nepal, girls are often considered a financial burden on poor households. Many parents sell their daughter or send them abroad as domestic labor to earn money for the family. Too often, these girls are forced to work in the sex industry or as house slaves. Few return and the ones that do face a lifetime of stigmatization.
Background: GO’s Local Hero Mahesh Bhattarai founded GWP in 1993 after hearing about incidences of poor families selling their daughters. He was compelled to help create an alternative option for their future and raise the social status of all Nepali women. Since inception, GWP has been tackling the pervasive problem of human trafficking; their efforts have changed the cultural and economic realities of girls to the point that the selling of daughters became a rarity in the three districts where GWP works.
Current Status: In June 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $26,877 to GWP to support their girls’ empowerment and microloan program. GWP recently shared that, in 2015, 90 empowerment groups utilized the microloan program to establish 122 businesses directly impacted 270 girls and employing 436 people in their communities. Girls are now seen as role models and bread winners; they are helping reduce their family’s financial burden and ensuring that younger generations are able to continue their education.
Sunmaya is 20 years old and lives with her husband and children. When she was 10 years old, she married and had to drop out of school. Because of her limited education, she was unable to help support her family. She dreamed of starting her own business, but she and her husband had no money. One day, Sunmaya heard about GWP’s girls group. She joined and later received a loan to start a tailoring business. Now she and her husband work in their own tailoring shop, and they have enough income to send their children to school. Sunmaya is grateful that her children will get the education she was denied.