Hello, my name is Amita*, and I am from central Nepal. My family is very poor, and when I was young my mother left us and eloped with another man. My father remarried, and soon after he and my stepmother started to verbally and physically abuse me. I was only 7 years old at the time. Unable to tolerate the abuse, I ran away to a tourist city. There I worked as a dish washer at a hotel. After a while I met a kind woman and ended up staying with her and her family. They sent me to school. At a school picnic, I met a boy. We exchanged phone numbers and grew close very fast. Eventually we got married and I went with him to India, but he and his father abused me there. Later, we went back to Nepal and stayed at a hotel in Pokhara. My husband left me there, and though I waited for him some time he never came back. Out of desperation, I got on a bus and rode for twelve hours to the border in hopes of finding him. Two KI Nepal staff workers stopped me. They listened to my story, educated me on human trafficking (a high risk if I were to travel to India alone), and gave me the option to go to a safe home to learn a trade. I decided to go to a safe home. There I learned tailoring and beautician skills. I am grateful for this opportunity!
*Name changed for protection
Amita making bracelets with her friends
I had the honor of meeting Amita and getting to know her during my time in Nepal. She has a determined personality and a kind heart. Amita also makes the best Roti (see description in “Food” blog post) I have ever had. Her story was shared with me after knowing her for a few months. My heart broke each time I heard a new story of a girl I’d been sharing life with. It’s hard enough to hear tragic stories when you don’t know the individual. But when you spend every day with that girl, learn her personality, see how she interacts with others, and find out her aspirations and dreams, hearing the reasons why she ended up in a safe home can nearly rip your heart out. What do you do? How can you process through the cruelty of the world negatively affecting a precious, innocent girl? How can a westerner (from a loving family) comprehend the abuse so many go through? I still haven’t figured it out. However, it is completely worth getting to know those girls. The relationship far outweighs the pain. Watching them overcome their troubles give you hope, inspires you, challenges you. You don’t get to “slide by” in life anymore, ignoring the poverty, the crimes against humans, and the issues that plague our world. You have to address them, in your own heart, and in the world around you. You have to do something!
Amita, along with so many other girls, changed me. They continue to challenge me with how they overcome, how they look at life, they’re positive attitude. I am forever blessed to know them to have a glimpse of their world.