One of the most amazing experiences of my life was trekking through the Himalayas of Nepal, to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain, Everest. Breathtaking!
I never dreamt at that time that I would be back with Orphan Voice just nine months later doing something else I love, helping to build strong families and see vulnerable children protected and thriving.
During this visit to Nepal in May 2019, I was able to help facilitate a training with our project partner to prepare for a new project Orphan Voice will begin to support to build strong families for orphaned and vulnerable children. One of my other priorities was to see firsthand a project Orphan Voice is already supporting, which is building greater awareness with vulnerable children to prevent trafficking and abuse.
Tragically and ironically, in a land of such exquisite beauty, child abuse and trafficking are destroying many precious young lives. A UNICEF report from 2017 states that around 12,000 female children and women are trafficked out of Nepal every year! Possibly many more go undetected, and some never return. That is a tragedy hard for many of us to comprehend.
Orphan Voice’s mission is to “be conduits whereby God’s love holistically transforms families and communities in conformity with His justice.” That is what we are in Nepal to do. We want to see the exploitation of children and women come to an end and His justice prevail. In a country like Nepal where many children are not aware of their rights and the dangers they face, or where to go to get help and speak out, Orphan Voice aims to give them a voice and build greater awareness.
In April 2019, Orphan Voice began an exciting new project and partnership with a wonderful local Christian organization, to broadcast child safety awareness campaigns on national television across Nepal. We are also supporting awareness raising trainings at schools, churches and clubs. In total, we are aiming to reach 120,000 children and youth with this vital message in just one year.
In May, I was able to attend one of these awareness trainings that Orphan Voice is supporting and was so impressed. Children learned about “Good Touch and Bad Touch” from a big fluffy dog mascot named Khush. They also learned about their rights to safety and memorized the national help-line number to call if they feel unsafe and need assistance. The children watched an excellent child-trafficking video locally produced by our project partner with support from Orphan Voice. And to top it all off, the children had a lot of fun singing action songs about God’s amazing love for them and received nutritional snacks before they returned home. I felt so blessed that Orphan Voice can be a part of this ongoing initiative and grateful to our project partner and many faithful donor partners who help to make this all possible.
After attending the awareness raising event, 17 year old Devina had memorized the help-line number and shared with me some of what she had learned. She said, “Today, I learned that if anybody touches our body and it makes us feel uncomfortable or unsafe, that is not right and is a crime. It is important for us to be safe and if we don’t feel safe, we need to tell someone who we trust and get help. I need to share this message about child safety with my friends and in my community.”
The statistics relating to child trafficking in Nepal and around the world are heart-breaking. However, I am encouraged to see what Orphan Voice and our project partner in Nepal is doing to help prevent the abuse and trafficking of children like Devina.
Through your prayers and support, you are helping us reach our goal of sharing this important child safety and anti-trafficking message with 120,000 Nepali children this year, and hopefully many more in the years to come. On behalf of Devina and thousands of children like her, thank you for making Nepal a safer place for them to live.