When I booked my trip to Nepal, the first thing I thought about was going to visit the SASANE Sisterhood of Survivors project in Kathmandu. Since learning about the project through G Project winner Lee-Ann Gibbs and Planeterra, I’ve been eager to meet these amazing ladies, who have been through so much but have been able to move on and turn their lives around.
Human trafficking is a huge issue in Nepal, with over 7000 women and girls trafficked out to India each year. Shamrakshak Samuha Nepal or “SASANE” (meaning “Let’s protect ourselves” in Nepali) was established in 2008, by female trafficking survivors, for other female survivors and those at risk of being trafficked or re-trafficked.
The project trains the girls to be paralegals: providing education, employment skills, a sense of protection on location at the police stations, a way to give legal advice, and to help other survivors. Another part of the project involves some of the women teaching travellers to make traditional Nepali foods, thereby raising funds for SASANE.
I began making plans to call in and visit the day before my tour started. But in the end, I didn’t have to; that same week, it was incorporated into the itinerary as a new feature of the G Adventures tour I was booked on.
On arrival, I was a little nervous; it was hard to know what to expect and whether the girls would want to interact with us. I hadn’t met victims of human trafficking before. Would they act differently than you or me?
We were greeted by the biggest smiles; the excitement from the ladies was tangible. We were one of the first groups to visit the project and you could see they were eager to show off their training.
We were taught how to make momos, (similar to dumplings). I wish I could say I was now an expert, but that would just be lying.
While there, we learned that there is even more to SASANE than the paralegal and hospitality training. They believe the most important tool in preventing trafficking of women and girls in Nepal is education. School awareness programs and informal education sessions are carried out by the project and are a way for women and girls to find out about the risks of trafficking.
Interestingly, even though we went on to trek the Annapurna foothills, wake up to the sun rising over the Himalayas, and see rhinos a few metres away in the wild, the group singled out our experience with SASANE as the highlight of the trip.
- 7000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal into India each year.
- Around 200,000 are currently in forced working conditions in Indian brothels.
- SASANE has provided paralegal training for over 190 women.
- The SASANE paralegals have assisted in filing over 3085 complaints and first information reports regarding women.
- They have also assisted with over 1085 complaints and first information reports regarding children.
- SASANE has provided legal services in 389 court cases.
- They rescued over 211 women and girls from exploitive situations and abuse in 2012-13 alone.
Want to get involved?
- If you’re female and looking for a worthwhile cause to volunteer for overseas, SASANE are always in need of volunteers. The project has a hostel on site, which gives both the volunteers and staff a great cross cultural experience where they are able to share their cultures and develop friendships
- Take a tour in Nepal! By taking our travellers through the restaurant, it helps to keep this project sustainable.
- Make a donation! All profits raised are matched dollar-for-dollar by G Adventures and go toward funding SASANE.
Come and visit the women of SASANE on our trips to Nepal. G Adventures runs a number of tours encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re so excited to shine a light on this wonderful project.