To give vulnerable, poverty-stricken, oppressed, and socially excluded children the opportunity to grow up in a safe and caring environment, where they are nurtured, educated, encouraged and respected.
In February 2009, Raju Sundas, the leader of Lighthouse Foundation Nepal (LHFN) was part of a team that visited two Badi villages in western Nepal. In the villages they met many women and children and saw their extreme poverty, social misery and vulnerability. They realized that most girls and women, if not all, would within a few years be abused and sexually exploited. Because of the caste system, poverty, and their cultural background they are often designated to a life of slavery and easily become victims of sexual abuse. It was horrible to hear stories of rape, coercion and exploitation and to realize that this ethnic group from birth was destined to this life.
The question arose, what could be done to stop this exploitation and rescue the girls from the sex trade? The answer was to start the first Badi Girls Home, which took place in December 2009 in the capital of Kathmandu. There the girls can grow up in a safe environment and receive care and education. This is how the work to save girls from trafficking was born.
LHFN is a Nepalese NGO (non-government non-profit organization) approved and registered with the Government of Nepal for work with education and health care among the poor and vulnerable children in the country. LHFN is engaged in fighting injustice and sexual exploitation, especially among the Badi people in Nepal.
In the nine years since the work started, LHFN has had explosive growth. Today there are 640 vulnerable children living in safe houses and over 1,000 students receiving an education. Some have been rescued directly out of the brothels, others come from poor families and have been given a chance of a better life.
The work consists today of both preventive measures for girls and boys living in poor conditions or vulnerable to becoming victims, as well as direct rescue work from the brothels. The vision is to create Safe Homes where girls (and boys) can experience security, love and care, and where help can be provided with long-term education, vocational training, creating jobs for them when they grow up. In this way they can meet a better future.
For more information about Light House Foundation Nepal,
go to http://lhfnepal.org/
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