Photo: Girls at our trafficking rehabilitation home were happy to benefit from the therapy of photography as an art form during a 3-day workshop.
We are happy to report that all 20 of our orphans (ages 7-17) started back to school in April. They are hard at work studying their native Nepali language, math, science, history, geography, English, and computer skills. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide the children with back-to-school necessities such as school uniforms, new shoes, socks, ties, belts, backpacks, textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, and lunch boxes. Focusing our efforts on keeping the children successfully enrolled in school is a powerful component in breaking the devastating cycle of extreme poverty, and gives them great hope and an opportunity to change their lives.
Today we want to share the uplifting story of one of the boys living at our orphan home, 8-year-old Batsal*, written in his own words:
"I am Batsal and I am from Lele, Lalitpur. I am 8 years old and the only child of my mother. My mom told me that my dad left me and my mother when I was 2 years old. Before coming to this orphan home I could not get a chance to go to the school. My mom is poor and uneducated and works as a house keeper to make a little money. She could not get a job that would pay enough to feed me and educate me. My mom brought me here to the orphan home. I am happy to be here. Now I got the chance to go to school. I have met many friends here, and I am happy with them."
Now Batsal, along with the other orphans, is loved and cared for by our faithful field director, his wife, and 4 loving staff members. Batsal and the other children are very blessed because most of them were brought to our orphan home from remote parts of Nepal where there was no electricity, no roads, no hospitals, no markets, and no access to any modern facilities. At our orphan home, Batsal and the other children are now receiving a quality education, and their emotional, spiritual, nutritional, and medical needs are being fulfilled, which would not have been possible if they had continued to live in their old villages.
In other good news, the internationally-exhibited photographer Renzo Grande, leader of the 24 Hour Project, traveled to Nepal in April to visit the 11 girls living in our ‘She Has Hope’ rehabilitation home to give them a 3-day photography instruction workshop. Renzo brought 6 cameras on loan from Fuji Cameras for the girls to use as they learned indoor and outdoor photography during the workshop. Providing the girls with the workshop allowed them to see photography as an art form and a form of self-expression, and art therapy has been shown to greatly aid in trauma recovery.
Most of the girls have their own cell phones with cameras which they now see differently than they did before the workshop. Before Renzo came to teach the girls photography, their phone cameras were simply something to take occasional snapshots with, but now the girls can see that their cell phone cameras provide a wonderful form of art therapy whenever they need it. The photographs the girls took during their 3-day course are slated to be published in a forthcoming book sponsored by the 24 Hour Project, which is a worldwide photography movement designed to inspire photographers to "document humanity to make a difference.” It's also a movement to help photographers see that their art can inspire positive social change. The girls are so grateful to Renzo for visiting them and teaching them a new artistic skill.
Lastly, the girls recently planted tomatoes in the rehabilitation home garden, which will provide a healthy staple in the meals for both our girls and the children living in our orphan home. The girls are also learning to make stuffed animals such as elephants, bears, dogs, rabbits, and monkeys. Many of the girls’ crafts are sold online at She Has Hope, and all proceeds directly support their rehabilitation.
We are grateful for your prayers and generous donations which greatly encourage our field director and his native team in their hard work to rehabilitate these children and girls and prepare them for a joyful, successful future.
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* Names are changed to protect our program beneficiaries.