Helping Girls in Nepali Villages

Our partner, Kingdom Investments Nepal (K.I. Nepal) works against trafficking on numerous levels, including prevention and finding the source of the problem. In one particular village, they began visiting a few years ago and building relationships because it was considered a high-risk community. As they learned more about the people and their circumstances, they realized that the lack of running water put girls and young women at risk of being assaulted and trafficked. Here is a story of one of these individuals:

My name is ­­­Maya. I grew up in a small village in Nepal. My family has always been very poor. Our village did not have running water, I had to travel by cycle for one hour just to get clean water for the house. One time when I was going to retrieve water , three men stopped me along the path and abused me.

Thankfully, K.I. Nepal was already working in my community because it is considered a high-risk trafficking area. Since their staff knew me well, they noticed a change in my behavior. I told them what happened, and they invited me to live in the safe home for six months. There I would learn sewing and beautician skills, and have a safe place to heal from the trauma. The safe home was wonderful. Not only were the staff kind and nurturing, but I became very close with the other girls. While there, I healed and learned the skills quickly, and became a role model in the home. I was also a spokesperson for my community and led a small group there to empower other young women. Recently I moved to the Kathmandu safe home to study for my SLC exam and get further education. My confidence has grown significantly, and the opportunities I will have with further education will not only help me provide for my family, but also give me a promising future, free of the fear of being abused or trafficked.

*Name changed for protection

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In photo: Maya meeting with her women’s group to record their progress in sewing training

I (Abby) had the privilege of living with and getting to know Maya. She taught me many things. I am blessed to know her, and deeply encouraged by her bright future! K.I. Nepal not only helped raise money to put two wells in this village, they continue to help with other needs to keep girls like Maya safe from trafficking. Their work has helped countless girls and young women.

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 In photo: Maya and me during a trip to the village (face covered for protection)


“Change is Inevitable. Progress is Optional”

-Tony Robbins

This quote if true both in our own lives and the world around us.

 

My fellow Freedom Fighters and friends of Red Thread Movement,

I would like to personally thank everyone who has been a part of Red Thread Movement thus far! YOU have taken an idea, a hope, a dream, and made it a reality. YOU have given time, money, and your talents to free girls halfway around the world! I am in awe of the things you have accomplished and am encouraged daily by your passion and commitment.

Over the past two years, I have had the absolute privilege of working with all of you while serving as Red Thread Movement Director. It has been a great joy to grow alongside Red Thread Movement, but the time has come for me to make a transition to be closer to my family, and I will be stepping down as RTM Director. I will continue to be a strong advocate for Red Thread Movement, Eternal Threads, and the fight against slavery and I hope to see it continue to flourish!

That is why I am pleased to announce that Abby Youngblood will be my successor. Abby graduated from ACU with a Masters in Social Work and wrote her thesis on the contributing factors of sex trafficking.  After graduation, Abby came to work for Eternal Threads. Earlier this year, she returned from an extended stay with our partner in Nepal and has been avidly learning the ins and outs of the director’s position for several months now. I expect great things from her!

It has been an honor working with all of you; the Eternal Threads board, staff, and volunteers, our RTM partners, and every advocate that raises their voice to bring freedom and justice to all! You are all heroes in my book.

Thank you again for your courageous commitment to freedom and Red Thread Movement. We will not forsake them!

For Their Freedom,

Breahna Jordan

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*Photo taken during our trip in Nepal

Dear Friends of Red Thread Movement,

We at Eternal Threads miss Breahna already!  Her drive and commitment to empower women helped our organization grow immensely. It will be difficult to fill Breahna’s shoes!

I am honored to be the new Red Thread Movement Director. During my time in Nepal, I lived in a safe home and I work closely with the staff to mentor girls who lived there.  I learned countless things about the organization, trafficking, the culture, and myself, and consider it a privilege to have had that opportunity. It’s one thing to get an education; it’s another thing to live it.

I am excited about the future of Red Thread Movement. Please join me in the fight for freedom, one girl at a time!

Freedom for All,

Abby Youngblood

RTM Director
Staff@RedThreadMovement.org
1-888-487-4549


Sewing Machines for Rescued Girls

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Every rescued girl has a story. Every rescued girl has a dream.

Living in a safe home after being rescued is life-changing in countless ways. The girls are nurtured and cared for in a strong community of mentors. However, this alone is not enough to prepare them for the transition back to their home communities. The girls also need skills training as well as assistance in starting their businesses after leaving the safe home. Part of this assistance is receiving a sewing machine.

Recently a project was launched through K.I. Nepal, raising funds to provide 80 sewing machines to assist girls in this transition. The project is called the CHELI project (Community, Health, Education and Livelihood Improvement Program), and the purpose is simple: provide a tool for the girls to make a life-sustaining income. K.I. Nepal is also sending the girls to their communities in teams of two or three. This is helpful on several levels. Girls have each other to provide support and community so that the chances for success in their business is greatly heightened. This crucial step finishes the three part journey of walking with a girl through recovery.

The following is a story about a young Nepalese woman named Rita:

Rita grew up in a poor but loving family. As there were few job opportunities for women in her village, she traveled with two friends to India to look for work. Nepalese girls, especially from rural areas, often think that India will provide job opportunities. Even though Rita was able to find work in India, she was exposed to violence and abuse. One day K.I. Nepal staff stopped her and heard her story of hardship. After meeting with them, she decided to go to a safe home to learn a trade. Rita has flourished in sewing and beautician training, and will be graduating soon. Because of her training, Rita will receive a sewing machine from K.I. Nepal and return to her village with another rescued girl to start their own business.

*Name changed for protection

Help Rita and numerous girls like her be successful by providing funds for sewing machines through https://www.purecharity.com/sewing-machines-for-rescued-girls

PURE CHARITY


Educational Opportunities for Rescued Girls!

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As well as receiving sewing and beautician training in the safe homes, many of the rescued girls have the opportunity to finish high school. This makes them eligible to study for the SLC exam which every student in Nepal takes after high school. Can you imagine how many more opportunities they will have with higher education?

The following is Shanta’s story:

Shanta grew up in one of the rural villages of Nepal, and had a difficult family life. Her father left the family for another woman, and her mother is elderly and sick. Shanta is the youngest of several sisters. She felt desperate to find a job to make money for her family so she and a friend decided to travel to India to look for a job to help support their families. At the border of Nepal they were stopped by KI Nepal staff and warned against the dangers of trafficking. Shanta decided to go to the KI Nepal safe home and learn a trade. She loved being in the safe house and her maturity and kind spirit were a great role model for the other girls. After staying for a few months, KI Nepal opened a new safe home in Kathmandu. Shanta took the opportunity to live in this safe home and study for her SLC exam. There she became a mentor to the other girls. At this time her goal is to pass the exam and start college soon.

*Name changed for protection

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Bitter Sweet Goodbye

This letter was written by staff member, Abby Youngblood, who has just returned from a seven month stay in Nepal.

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Wow, how can I communicate the great experiences I had? Words can’t describe how incredible my time in Nepal was. Here’s my attempt: The staff and girls accepted me as one of them, which is no small thing! To live life with them each day, I learned about their culture, language, and their perspective on things. Challenges came up (struggling to learn the language, miscommunication, cultural differences, missing home, etc.), but they were completely worth it. Many have visited the safe homes from the US, and have learned and experienced great things. However, I had an opportunity that I had only ever dreamed about: I was able to live with the girls and staff and be there when the teams left, when the trips were over. I got a perspective foreigners rarely get, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.

It is difficult to grasp the issue of trafficking in a given part of the world until you take time to learn about the people and culture. For example, the kind, hospitable, gentle attributes of the Nepalese culture make it unique and rich, but also make the young women especially susceptible to trafficking. Another example is the caste system. It affects the culture and continues to play a part in the deep poverty and gender inequality of the country, further contributing to trafficking.

Finally, living in Nepal for months with the girls, working with the staff and being a part of the organization brought the reality of this cause home. The staff became my older brothers and sisters who fight on the front line against trafficking. They literally devote their lives to save and help as many girls as possible. The girls truly became my little sisters. It isn’t just about working to help people I didn’t know to be free from sexual slavery anymore. It is about a driving hope that my younger sisters will be safe from the evils of trafficking. It is about dreaming for their futures, for opportunity, freedom and success in whatever they put their minds to. I wasn’t able to build relationship with each girl in each safe home while I was there, but for the girls I lived with, our relationships run deep. I will never forget them. I will think of and pray for them often. And as I told them our last evening together: we may be far apart physically, but our hearts will always be close. I love and miss the girls and staff more that words can say, and am incredibly grateful to KINepal for inviting me to come.

-Abby Youngblood

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If you would like to read more about Abby’s time in Nepal, check out her blog at abbyyoungblood.wordpress.com/.

 


A Day in the Life of a Rescued Girl

 

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Ever wonder what it’s like for the girls living in the safe house?

Every day is scheduled. They take turns cleaning, preparing meals, and washing clothes. Many of them are awake by 6am. From The beautician instructor arrives around 7:30 and the girls have beautician training from 8am until 10am. Breakfast follows, which consists of rice, lentil soup, and a vegetable cooked in curry seasonings. Soon after, the girls go to the sewing room, where the house mother, Basanti trains the girls in tailoring. Throughout the afternoon, they work on patterns, projects, and making Red Thread bracelets. Lunch is around 2:30pm. The girls have English class at 3:30pm which supplements the English lessons they take in school. They are eager to learn. Later in the afternoon, the girls usually kick a ball around or play bad mitten (a team of Americans that came last summer brought several sets for the girls). They have Fellowship each night before dinner, and eat around 7:30pm. The girls are in bed by 10pm and begin again the next day. Saturday is their day off from work and school. Sunday is a work day like every other day of the week.


ESCAPE

We recently received the following story from Nepal:

A 16-year-old girl has been rescued after being trafficked into India, enslaved in numerous brothels, and eventually escaping. Here is her story:

Alina* grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 in a rural Nepalese village. Her mother was neglectful, so Alina moved in with her aunt.

At age 14, Alina went to visit her sister. During this particular stay, Alina’s sister had to leave town for a few days, so Alina went to a neighbor’s home while she was gone. As Alina was helping with the household chores, the neighbor, a middle-aged woman, encouraged Alina saying, “You are so fast with your work!” Alina smiled. She rarely received any positive attention at home and the change was nice. The woman told Alina that she had worked in India making good money. Alina shared that she had a sister living in India. The neighbor offered to take her to her sister and to help her find a good job. She promised Alina that she would have money to buy nice clothes and extra to send home to her family. Out of a desire to help with family finances, in particular, medical needs for her grandmother, Alina agreed to go to India.They talked for hours, discussing “life in India” and making plans. The woman warned Alina not to tell her sister about her plans, and the day after Alina’s sister returned , she slipped out to meet the woman and begin their journey.

For one week, Alina stayed with the woman in India. During this time, the woman bought Alina nice clothes, treated her to fancy meals, and taught her about Indian culture. Unbeknownst to Alina, the woman was a local prostitute and trafficker, and was preparing her to be sold in India’s Red Light District. At the end of the week, the woman told Alina the truth: that she would be forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. Alina cried and threatened to call the police, but she could not escape. The woman met with a brothel owner to broker the sale of Alina’s freedom. Once they had reached an agreement, they forced Alina to sign documents stating that she was there by choice. Sealed with a thumbprint at the bottom, Alina’s freedom was ripped away from her.

 Taken in one of India’s Red Light Districts.

For two years, Alina was forced to work in different brothels, hotels, and dance bars in the Red Light District. Alina was sometimes rebellious and fought the traffickers and brothel owners. In one instance, she was given housework for one month instead of having customers. It was common for her to have 8 customers a night. Sometimes she even had Nepali men as customers. When this occurred, she would cry and plead with them to help. Many times, they cried as well and did not assault her. Some even tried to help her escape.

One day, after escaping from a brothel, Alina caught a train, where she met a Nepali beautician trainer. Without mentioning that she recently escaped from forced prostitution, Alina told her she wanted to return to Nepal to be with her family. The woman agreed to take her during the Dashain Festival, and that Alina could stay with her and work in her beauty parlor until then. At the end of the month, the woman escorted Alina to Nepal and stayed in contact with her by phone. After the two-week holiday, the woman invited Alina to return to India and work in the beauty parlor with her, not knowing that she was underage. Alina agreed.

Border Girl

One of the brave women that work KIN’s anti-trafficking border units.

However, on their way back to India, the two were stopped by KIN staff at the border. Both were interviewed by the staff, where it was discovered that Alina was underage. Because the woman was not aware of this, and had legitimate papers to work in India as a beautician, the staff let her go. Alina was taken to the safehouse.

Alina is now receiving counseling in the safe house for the two years she spent in India’s Red Light District. She is outgoing and willing to share information about her experiences with KIN’s staff. Though some parts of her story are hard to share, she works to continue in order to help other girls like her. Through her bravery and willingness to share, KIN hopes to better help other girls in similar situations.

*Name changed for protection.

Check back for updates on Alina and other girls in the safe house. If you are interested in helping Alina and other girls like her, please consider donating to their recovery at  EternalThreads.org.

UPDATE: Alina, along with a KIN staff member, has met with a lawyer to begin steps to prosecute the woman who trafficked her into India and sold her into the brothels and possibly some of the brothel owners.  KIN has a strong record of successfully prosecuting traffickers in Nepal. Thanks to the bravery of these girls, and your contributions to their recovery, traffickers are being put away, making Nepali villages safer for other girls.

UPDATE: Part 2 of our PureCharity fundraising has been completed! Please consider donating towards sewing machines for the girls at EternalThreads.org.


Footsteps

Brittany flips through the scrapbook with the girls

 

For 2014, we are offering our followers a unique experience we’ve never had before! We want to give you the chance to walk side by side with 20 rescued girls, from their initial rescue, through their recovery in the safe house, to their restoration back into their communities.

This is how it will work: Below are links to our PureCharity account, where you can donate to the rescue of these 20 girls. Throughout the month of February, while these girls are being rescued, we will be raising money for their shelter and care in the safe house. Once they are in the safe house, we will share their stories, how they are doing, and their triumphs over time. During this time, we will begin raising money for the supplies they will need to start their own business and support themselves once they leave. As we travel this journey together, we ask you to send us words of encouragement for the girls as well as pictures of you wearing your RTM bracelets, a visual sign that you stand up for them!

Check out the first two parts of the project, RESCUE and RECOVERY.

RESCUE: https://purecharity.com/anti-trafficking-border-unit

RECOVERY: https://purecharity.com/shelter-and-care-for-20-rescued-girls

Check back for updates on the project. You can make a personal donation, share with your friends and family, or go to your neighborhood businesses to ask for corporate donations. Create your own PureCharity account and set up an online fundraiser. Share these stories with your church family.

“Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.” Barbara Bush


REVOLUTION

It’s 2014. Ditch the resolution and start a revolution!

Reblogged from http://dalepartridge.com/let-fear-stop-died/.

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On June 13th 2011, my business partner and I launched Sevenly. A social good e-commerce company who partners with a new charity every week and donates $7 from every purchase to that charity’s cause.

Fast forward 2 years, 6 months, 5 days, and we have donated over $3,000,000 in $7 donations to charities and have supported over 1 million people! As I look back, we’ve raised money to fight everything from female gendercide in China and domestic violence in Mexico to suicide prevention in the U.S. and extreme hunger in East Africa. We’ve partnered with over 100 different charities supporting people in more than 80 countries. Wow… It humbles me every time I think about it. But, my question for you is this…

What if we didn’t?

What if we didn’t start Sevenly? What if we gave up? What if we got frustrated? What if we allowed fear to stop us? Sure there were moments of extreme stress, loss of sleep, intense resistance, and even sheer burnout. But I’ll say it again, “what if we didn’t?”

As I took a moment to reflect on the answer to this question, it almost brought me to tears. Here is the answer: Girls would still be trafficked, children would have died from drinking dirty water, women would be stuck in abusive relationships, and families would be fatally sick. This is not make believe, this is reality. The $3 million we’ve raised has literally saved people’s lives.

So, I ask you again, “What if we didn’t?” I think you’re getting the picture now.

My point is this, the decisions to chase our dreams go far beyond our own lives. While I was focused on building a great business that did some good for the world, I had not even connected, until now, that if we didn’t start Sevenly, people would actually lose their lives. So what is your dream? What’s stopping you from chasing it. What could the world look like if it works? Better yet, whose lives would you change?

Here is your permission. Go out there! Be bold. Be brave. Fight the good fight. Create something that matters and change the course of someone’s life, forever. Your ideas really are, that important.

 

 

Hey everyone! It’s Breahna, Director of Red Thread Movement, encouraging you to gather your courage and take a leap of faith this year! Not quite sure how to start your REVOLUTION? Check out the following ideas:

1. Raise Awareness, Raise FundsPure Charity allows anyone to raise money for their favorite cause through traditional online crowdfunding AND your everyday online purchases! So check it out, follow Eternal Threads, and start fundraising a whole new way!

2.  Petition for Freedom – Go to sites like Chain Store Reaction and Change.org to sign petitions against human trafficking and slavery.

3. Rock the RED – Commit to  wearing your Red Thread Movement bracelet every day and telling at least 1 person a week about how you are combating human trafficking in Nepal.

4. Become an Abolition AmbassadorSell RTM bracelets at your school, church and/or work. Become a Sevenly Ambassador. Turn your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blog into a medium for FREEDOM.

5. Wear Fair – Commit to a year of sustainable choices. Check out Grace Holt’s blog, Living with the Holts, for great ideas about Fair Trade products and upcycling secondhand clothing!


Fighting Injustice, One Girl at a Time

Fighting Injustice, One Girl at a Time

As I reflected on my experience with the girls, I had a hard time meshing these sweet, joyful, innocent girls with a past of abuse and pain. They had been through so much, yet they were so happy. It makes me hurt to think how different their lives would be, the pain that would replace their sweet smiles, if it hadn’t been for the courageous girls at the border stations. I couldn’t help but think about my little sister, who just turned 16, and how I would do anything in the world to keep her from harm’s way. Knowing that these girls don’t have anyone to protect and love them at home, breaks my heart.

Then I thought about their futures, the destinies of each of these girls. How, in six short months, our partner is helping them create an entirely different life. They are taught a skill that will be their new occupation hopefully for the rest of their life. Most girls in the US are just trying to pick a college at their age.

Their identities change as well. For their entire lives up until this point, they believed they were “less than” because they were girls. They were considered a burden, just by being born. When they get to the safe house, they learn that they are valuable, important and loved. They learn how to successfully make a living for themselves.

Finally, for most of them, their world is turned when they begin a relationship with Christ. In the Hindu religion, in their culture, they believe in karma, which states that everything that you’ve done, both in this life and past lives, effects what happens to you in the future. For these girls, this means they believed that they were neglected, abused, and trafficked because of something THEY did. However, many come to know Christ, that he paid the ultimate price for all their sins, and that their slates are wiped clean. Imagine carrying the burden not only of every sin you’ve ever committed in your life, but in many, many lives. Then imagine that heavy burden being lifted off your shoulders, knowing that you are free, not only physically, but spiritually.
With this new self, these girls go home to become business women, active members in their communities, and church planters, all the while, changing the lives of others. Under a humble, sweet exterior burns a fire of strength and tenacity.

To change a nation, we don’t go into combat with an army of men. We fight injustice, one girl at a time.


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