Tuesday, 24 February 2015

This week the issue of gender based violence has hit the headlines again in Nepal. Two girls were studying at a tuition centre in Kathmandu when a gang broke in and threw acid on them. This sort of headline is sadly not uncommon here in Nepal.

No one knows for sure but it is estimated that between 5000-7000 Nepali women are trafficked into India alone each year. They are usually promised work or sometimes a place in a boarding school, often by someone they know, and then sold into brothels in Kathmandu or in Indian cities.

A number of the parents of students at KISC are involved in work which aims to empower and rehabilitate those who have been marginalized by society, abused or trafficked, and provide them with a way out and the chance to start again.

Two of these families have started a business together here to go into ethical garment manufacturing. They have named their business Purnaa which is a Nepali word meaning whole, complete or perfect. 
Unemployment in Nepal currently stands above 40%. As a result, 15%-20% of Nepalis currently work outside the country, often in situations that make them extremely vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and bonded labour. Purnaa’s goal is to create good jobs within Nepal, empowering survivors and preventing exploitation in the future. They “envision a Nepal with sufficient employment to reduce poverty and make possible the eradication of modern day slavery.”

Purnaa currently employs around 20 people, mostly women, from various different backgrounds and are training them to produce beautiful clothes, bags and other products to sell in the western markets. They have just released their first catalogue.

Modelling Purnaa Products
We feel proud to be able to support this work by enabling these and many other families to stay here in Nepal because they know there is a good school for their children and so they don’t have to leave for educational reasons.

If this is a topic you are interested in finding out more about then BMS World Mission are currently running the “Dignity” campaign to raise awareness about gender based violence in the UK and around the world. It is estimated that every one of us globally will have met at least one person who is affected by gender based violence even if we don’t know it.

This campaign provides materials for you to discuss these issues within your churches or small groups and looks at ways you can get involved in the UK and overseas to help bring about much needed change.

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