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Nepal Earthquake Response

May 11, 2015

In recent months, the Freedom Fund has been preparing to expand its existing work in Nepal by launching a new program against sexual exploitation of children in Kathmandu.  Faced with the catastrophic earthquake, we decided to rapidly speed up the start of this work, knowing that the resulting lack of food and shelter makes individuals, especially children, more vulnerable to exploitation of all kinds, including commercial sexual exploitation.  We quickly advanced $100,000 which is now going out in 12 small emergency grants, while we work to implement the longer-term strategy.

Working alongside our implementing partner, Geneva Global, we’re supporting several local organisations that are undertaking work in Kathmandu, primarily to help women and girls in the adult entertainments sector with whom they were already working before the earthquake.  The NGOs are assisting those who are living on the streets now and who have not yet been reached by the larger relief effort.  Many of these women and girls have lost their immediate income due to the earthquake, and most cannot go home to their family because they come from nearby districts that are heavily affected by the earthquake.

Most of the other organisations that we’ve made grants to are focusing on a combination of direct relief and anti-trafficking efforts in nearby districts, targeting village areas that have not been reached with humanitarian aid so far.  They are providing blankets, food, tents, medicines, sanitation kits – while at the same time conveying the risk of trafficking.

One of these organisations, Gramin Mahila Srijansil Parivar (GMSP) in Sindhupalchowk district – whose office was destroyed and all of its 22 staff and board members lost their homes – will be supported to visit 6 different camps to give psychosocial counselling, as well as broadcasting radio messages and holding group meetings in camps to prevent trafficking.  They will also be providing education materials for children whose schools were destroyed.

With their reach into isolated communities and their existing networks of trained anti-trafficking volunteers in the villages, the anti-slavery NGOs across Nepal can be a powerful force helping to reunite families, protect destitute individuals and channel emergency support where it is most needed.

Photo: UK DFID
Lal Maya sits outside the remains of her home, on a remote mountain hillside in rural Nepal. Her house all but collapsed in the earthquake on 25 April.

Written by
Ginny Baumann
Senior Program Manager