Welcoming the Victims of Human Trafficking of Enforced Prostitution, and of Violence
Case one: Jamuna, a young lady ready to be married, slaves at the care of the family homestead in the hills of Nepal. Her parents want the best for her, but could not send her to the nearest school, too far away for youngsters to walk to. Maya spends her days cooking, cleaning, harvesting fodder for the family’s livestock, and helping with seasonal field work – chores which keep her busy from before dawn until after dark.
Marriage will not change her life much. She will become the youngest daughter-in-law in another’s house, performing tasks others pass on to her. She will then face pregnancy and then have children to care for. Her friend, Ram from a neighbouring village, suggests that they elope and seek their fortunes in India. She agrees and they run away, but she soon finds herself sold to a brothel owner. It does not take long for her to contract HIV. The brothel owners chase her away.
Case two: Ganga lives in a similar village where she and her husband have two young children. Their land holdings cannot support the family, so Ganga’s husband, Shyam, takes a high interest loan with the land as collateral, and arranges labour work outside Nepal.
He returns two years later with some savings to pay his debts and buy a little more land. Life seems to be better now but Ganga, who has been faithful to her husband contracts HIV from him.
Both cases are fictitious, but all-too-common among the poor of the world.
Enter the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Late Bishop Anthony Sharma, S.J., then Nepal’s Ecclesiastical Superior, invited the sisters to work in Nepal. In 1993 they opened a school at Narayanghat, a crossroads in Nepal’s central plains.
The sisters soon saw the needs of HIV infected women, and opened a shelter for them on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Sympathetic doctors and generous donors helped the project, which soon needed more space. Again Msgr. Anthony invited them to use part of the parish land at Godavari, on the south-eastern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. Ladies could receive the treatment and skill training they needed to stand on their own.
But the challenges multiplied. Who would help care for the children, some HIV positive, some not, of these abandoned ladies? More generous donors came forward, and now these girls live in a spacious home near Godavari, and are welcome to study at the surrounding schools. Both the children and their mothers receive the medical care they need, and can now look forward to normal, productive lives.
The sisters operate other schools in Nepal’s central plains. They happily live a balanced life style of contemplation and service. Their lives close to God and God’s poor are a wonderful example for us all. They channel God’s mercy to us!
Sr. Deepa, S.A.B.S. Regional Superior, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Sr. Rosna, S.A.B.S., Karuna Kinderhaus, email@example.com;