“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – Desmund Tutu
When I was first introduced to Shanta Sapkota, founder of Peace Rehabilitation Center (PRC) and partner of Free for Life International, I had no idea where this journey was going to take me. Twenty-one hours on an airplane later, the journey took myself and five others to Kathmandu, Nepal. Little did I know, this was an experience that would change the course of my life. I did not fully grasp the magnitude of darkness that exists in Nepal regarding trafficking. Nor did I fully understand the light that Free for Life, in partnership with PRC, reflects in the community until we arrived.
After two weeks of traveling the country, we arrived back in Kathmandu. Through the winding dirt roads, we came to a stop; our van too big to travel down a muddy alleyway. Walking past children playing ping-pong on a cement slab, with broken bricks creating a make-shift net, we walked a half a block or so. We avoided muddy puddles as we made our way down the narrow dirt road. We soon approached an iron fence, and as we walked past it,the PRC Rehabilitation Shelter was revealed. This house and property become home to some of the most severe cases of girls trafficked. It is here they are brought for safety, education, skills training, and to receive ongoing counseling for the trauma they have experienced. I do not know what heaven will look like, but after visiting this house, I think I now have a pretty good idea.
This Rehabilitation Home is a beacon of hope and light that bursts through the darkness of human trafficking. Beautiful blooming flowers lined the property as we walked past the training facility where girls learn to use sewing machines and towards the main house where the girls stay. Each detail was thoughtfully clear from the moment you entered the house. There are multiple rooms for the girls to sleep and a living room where laughter bounced off the walls. There is a garden area in the back where food could be grown so girls no longer worried where their next meal would come from. There is kitchen large enough for everyone to cook together and eat together, as one family. Every day, the girls go to school and come back to the Peace Rehabilitation Center and Free for Life safe house where they learn how to cook, clean, an develop trades so they can become self-sustaining. Free for Life and PRCS’s goal is to empower the girls to be strong, independent women, no longer susceptible to being trafficked again.
It was in this home where my group and I saw girls that had experienced unimaginable pain, smiling and working together. Hope is not just having a safe place to call ‘home’. It is also the love they experience while there. Shanta Sapkota and the house mothers have created a space where the girls feel like they are the most valuable people in the world. It is a place that provides a true sense of hope for all those who enter. A hope in the future. A second chance at life. Creating beauty out of the unexpected.
If you would like to be a part of the rescue of human trafficking victims please consider buying a bow this holiday season. $300 saves a girl from sex slavery, click here to donate today!