Welcome to “The Heart of the Matter,” our new blog for Friends of Maiti Nepal. The name refers of course to our green heart, but also to our purpose, which is to show you more about Maiti Nepal, to keep you current with our activities, and to share, distill, and clarify news about sex trafficking in Nepal.
Founders of Friends of Maiti Nepal, Brigitte and Joe Collins, have recently returned from several weeks in Kathmandu, working with Anuradha Koirala (founder of Maiti Nepal) and the skilled and loyal staff. They were there also to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Maiti Nepal. We’d like to share with you some comments and reflections from Brigitte and Joe.
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THE 20th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT MAITI NEPAL was held in the center courtyard of the Rehabilitation Center in Kathmandu. At 5,000 feet above sea level, the landscape is green, the flowers are blooming, and there is a fundamental sense of cleanliness and order at Maiti Nepal. This is in stark contrast to the constant chaos of traffic and noise just outside the grounds. Maiti Nepal is a busy place with hundreds of survivors, children and staff— meals, schooling, counseling, play activities. The work is unceasing: emergencies such as the arrival of the police authorities with victims of sex trafficking, the apprehension of traffickers and rescue of girls taken from the hands of traffickers at the airport, all take place night and day, even during the anniversary festivities.
The celebration itself was a well planned, joyous event. Brilliant costumes, bunting, flags and colorful tents added to the festive atmosphere. Performances displayed the resilience of the survivors who danced and sang with brio and artistry. They enjoyed the staff’s dances and plays, and they laughed, whistled and applauded with gusto. One could see and appreciate the “family” relationship between all, the staff, the survivors, the littlest children. Love and respect was very present. Anuradha danced and sang to the delight of her many children, and spoke passionately as she gratefully acknowledged the support she has received from her loyal staff and donors over these 20 years.
Much of our work at Friends of Maiti Nepal is based in the US as we raise funds and create strategic partnerships to further Maiti Nepal’s work. We spend our lives working for Maiti Nepal and its cause, thinking of the thousands of sex trafficked Nepalese, the survivors, and the little children at Maiti Nepal. So to spend time at Maiti Nepal and be in their midst is such a great privilege. Their radiant smiles are contagious, yet one cannot forget the sadness in their hearts, and the pain they have suffered. One of most amazing things in the precious oasis which is Maiti Nepal, is the fact that most of the staff has an average tenure of over 13 years, some have been with Maiti Nepal for 16 and 18 years. This is a great credit to the leadership of Anuradha, the loyalty she inspires, and the satisfaction that can be found in this important and life-saving work.
Please enjoy the photos as you share with us the festive occasion of Maiti Nepal’s 20th anniversary. Please mouse over the images to see the captions. We welcome your comments.