“THE SILENT REVOLUTION OF THE GIRLS – THE SILENT CALL FROM NEPAL”
After two years of the Corona Pandemic, my husband and I were able to travel to Nepal again in spring 2022 and visit our projects on site. A lot has changed in this country as well due to Corona and the Ukraine war. People have even less and the suffering has increased even more. A lot of terrible news reached us during the pandemic. Girls have disappeared, got married at 12. Mothers killed themselves and sometimes took their children with them to commit suicide. Corona infected people were left on the streets and left to their fate. The parents of our children lost their daily work due to the strict lockdown and there was often nothing to eat for days. The big winners in the pandemic were the human traffickers who were able to offer their “goods” (children from the age of 3 and young women) on the market. To this day, these children and women end up in brothels (often up to 40 customers a day), in illegal Indian hospitals as organ donors and as slave labor. The unofficial number of missing children and women is 25,000 to 28,000 people per year. The big problem is the exodus of fathers to the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. Every day about 2000 people leave the country to earn money as slave workers. These people have to pay $2,000 in agency fees to get a $220-$450 job per month. They take out loans, pay 36% interest and often work six to eight months for free. The families at home depend on the monthly transfers. When these fail, women and girls begin to starve. They are the first victims. Many mothers then see suicide as the only way out and often take their daughters with them to commit suicide. It is also important that we in Europe abandon the idea that people in developing countries are much happier. Nepal has an extremely high rate of female suicide.
This year’s trip to Nepal demanded a lot of resilience from us. The situation in our villages is reminiscent of stories from the Middle Ages. Despite many hurdles, we have managed to provide our 276 children in our three schools with education and food. The biggest obstacle for us is the patriarchal mindset. Girls and women from the Dalits (lower caste) group are worthless. Newborn girls are still left lying in the fields after giving birth because the women don’t want to come home with unnecessary eaters. Dalit women have to give birth outside because blood angers the gods and thus misfortune comes upon all family members. Again and again we have to fight with the fathers to send their daughters to our schools. Educated women pose a threat to patriarchy.
Among other things, we have managed to get bath girls into education. The Badis ethnic group has lived from prostitution for 70 years. All female family members from the age of 10 go into prostitution in their huts – grandmothers – mothers – daughters – all under one roof. The men of the family get the money.
During our last visit we were able to open our school in a leprosy village. Many lepers have starved to death during the pandemic because begging was banned. The 82 children are overjoyed to be able to learn with us and to be provided with a warm meal every day.
Within the last six years in Nepal, with a lot of effort and expense, we have managed to accommodate 276 children in our three schools (in a prison, in a slum, in a leprosy village). We made dead children’s eyes shine again and these young people believe in their future again. They enjoy our protection from violence and white slavers and they have regained their dignity of being girls. We provide everything they need: education, books, uniforms, warm clothes, medicines.
15 of our girls became orphans or half-orphans during the Corona period. We have been able to accommodate them in a hostel since November 2022 and are therefore no longer defenseless street children and avoid the danger of ending up in brothels.
A total of 12 volunteers have worked for us in the last four years. Everyone comes back to Austria with a different way of thinking and a new way of life – happy to have had this experience. “Here the world ticks completely differently…get out of the comfort zone – a jump that is worth it! Thank you for this unique experience – it will remain unforgettable!” (Statement from Kerstin and Elisabeth from Upper Austria, 2022) …if you know someone who would like to work in Nepal, please pass on our contact details.
Finally, a big THANK YOU for your support! Without them it would not be possible for us to get these children out of an almost hopeless world. Perhaps you too will hear the silent cry of our children. It’s the girls’ silent revolution. With education – not with violence – they can embark on a new path. “Breaking the chains with education” – that is our vision.
A sponsorship costs 70 cents per day (20 euros / month). With this we can pay for hot food, uniforms, books and notebooks, teachers’ salaries and medicines/vaccinations every day. Every euro donated goes to our children. In our organization there are no administrative costs – we take care of them privately.
Merry Christmas and a healthy 2023!
Brigitte and Heinz Söllinger