My experience in Nepal was life changing, and was something I did not expect to be honest. I had the opportunity to visit Nepal with my friends from HELP International and Proof Eyewear over Thanksgiving in 2017. We had all gone to Uganda the year before over Thanksgiving, and now were going on another trip to Nepal to help work on some projects HELP International supports. The trip was so much fun, and traveling throughout Nepal was an absolute dream, but nothing was really anchoring me to the place in the same way Uganda had. That was until I met the girls of Raksha.
Raksha is an organization based in Kathmandu that supports women and girls who have been sexually exploited. Among the many arms of the organization, they have a shelter that provides food, education, and a beautiful, healthy family for over 60 young girls. All of these girls have been rescued from sex trafficking, and other forms of sexual violence. Before arriving, I had heard many stories about what these girls had gone through. These stories were absolutely heartbreaking to say the least. The amount of unspeakable evil that an individual would have to possess to hurt a child in the ways described to me made my blood boil with anger and at the same time want to weep. I could not begin to imagine what kind of scars this would leave on the children I was about to meet, and was expecting to walk into an environment of a deep heaviness that would understandably be very somber. I was totally taken off guard when we finally arrived.
Walking into Raksha is something I will never forget. All the girls were lined up with huge smiles on their faces, signing, and welcoming us to their home. The did their traditional dances, told us their names, and we ate a dinner prepared by them. I felt like I was in a dream. It was so different than I had imagined. While there definitely was an air of sadness, it was different. I knew that the reason why all of these girls were here is because someone awful, often a person they loved and trusted, did something, or allowed someone to do something, so terrible and horrifying that they had to be removed from their family and communities to live in this shelter. But, together they had created such a loving, hopeful culture of healing and self love, that I met all of those girls as empowered individuals that were not allowing their past determine their future. It was beautiful. I felt like I had walked into a very very special place, with resilient little souls in tiny bodies that were much more wise and spiritually mature than I will ever be.
HELP International had the idea to have me bring some silversmithing supplies, and teach the girls how to make rings. We set up at a little table in the back of the cafeteria one morning and I began to teach the older girls how to make a ring. These girls don’t really know english super well, so most of it was done through a translator. I went step by step, explaining in detail, but thought little was actually sinking in. I definitely underestimated them. These girls are smart, focused, and extremely hard workers. They internalized everything I taught better than the vast majority of people I teach in the states and really understood the process. After completing our first ring, many of them could do it by themselves immediately! We crammed working on rings in between our busy schedules and made many rings, but were very short on time. We had time to complete a few dozen, but before much time passed it was time for me to return home. It was so sad leaving them, before I had left I already knew that I would have to come back.
I was literally home for less than 48 hours before purchasing my next plane ticket to Nepal. I came back over New years, after having spent Christmas at my Orphanage in Uganda. This time we got to work. Long story short, we busted out over a hundred rings in just 3 short days. These girls were impressive. They would start making rings bright and early right after morning yoga and breakfast, and would continue until midnight while also fitting in homework and chores. These are the rings that you see for sale on the website today.
Each of these rings were handmade by a beautiful young woman who has been to hell and back, but chooses each day to move forward with hope. These girls have totally changed my life, and each one of them deserves the world. Raksha Nepal does such incredible work, and one hundred percent of the profits from these rings goes back to that organization. Click this link here to shop their rings. Thank you for the support and God bless.