Honestly, this trip was one of the most life-changing things I've ever done. I've visited other countries and done humanitarian work before but for some reason this was different. Like I've said, I've always felt a pull to humanitarian work. There are some things in my life that have made me feel like humanitarian work is what I'm really supposed to do with my life. I like my job, I do but I love working with non-profits and doing humanitarian work. So my that's my new life plan. Lots of exciting things in the works...
So what did we do? Well, here are a few of the projects we were involved in...
Rasksa is a humanitarian organization that helps sexually exploited women and children. Menuka runs a home for kids that have been sexually abused and/or who's mothers are sex-workers. She also works with local women who have become trapped into the life of sex-working to provide them with education and vocational training so that they can get out of that life and have a way to provide for themselves and their children. She is doing amazing work. She has had such a difficult life, losing her parents at a young age and being homeless is only part of her difficult journey. She has risen above all of this and now, amid regular bomb threats and death threats by people who are upset that she is trying to help and empower women and children, she has devoted her life to helping others. I was inspired by her compassion, her love, her courage and her devotion. She is truly one of the strongest women I have ever met.
We spent time studying with, reading with, playing with and praying with the kids at Raksha. one of my favorite things to do was walk them to school. They spend most of their time in Raksha with tight security (a lot of these children are sensitive cases and some kind of in "hiding" so to speak). Going to school is one of the only times they are able to leave and getting an education is so important. Many people in Nepal are unable to obtain an education at all...being able to walk them to school and study with them and read to them...just being able to see their excitement was astounding. Muna was another person I had the opportunity to meet. Wow. I can't even start to explain how fantastic she is. She has had one of the most difficult and painful pasts of anyone I've ever known, and yet, she is one of the happiest, kindest, most positive people I've ever met. She made you happier just by being around her. She helps out with so much at Raksha and helped out with our Nepal HELP team as well. If anyone has ever inspired me to be able to have faith in the future and endure through trials, it's this incredible woman. I wish everyone could meet her and learn from her. Hey, let's all just go to Nepal again, yeah?!
Kumari is a village a few hours outside of Kathmandu. There are some wonderful and very poor people there. We had the opportunity to help in the building of homes there for families who's homes had been destroyed in the earthquake. These people were some of the kindest, most humble most joyful people in the world. They had a light about them that just made you want to be a better person. I was so humbled by how little these people had, and how grateful they were despite that fact.
Honestly, it was some of the most physically exhausting work I've ever done. We hauled giant rocks, dug foundations, chiseled mountain walls and carried sandbags....oh the sandbags, carried them up rocky mountain ledges on our backs and they. were. heavy. But you know what? There is something so rewarding about doing heavy manual labor. At the end of the day you feel so accomplished. And taking a shower...in a gross bug/spider, dirty, sketchy shower...feels pretty darn great.
We also worked on other projects. There were literacy classes for women to help provide them more education and skills. We helped at a daycare for kids of sex workers. The kids there (like all the kids in Nepal) were ADORABLE. We taught women's health classes about menstruation and sex. HELP also worked with Choice Humanitarian on various projects. Other projects took place before I got there. The HELP team was there for a total of ~2 months (unfortunately I was only able to be there for the last two weeks) and they did A LOT of great things.
Anyway...I'll stop boring you seeing as this is probably all much more interesting to me than to you BUT if you do want more information about my trip, how to get involved, how to donateor how to help...let me know and I'd be more than happy to fill you in on more details...