Here are answers to the most asked questions
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Do employees/volunteers in She=precious take out a salary?
Everything that is done from Norway is based on voluntary efforts and no one receives a salary or other remuneration. The volunteers that are involved contributes alongside their work and/or studies.
Those who work in Nepal gets a salary. To accomplish our goals and work, this is necessary. We have to have people in place who ensure that the scholarships get to where it is supposed to, that the girls and their families, the schools, the police and other authorities are followed up and coordinated. Also, to ensure that social counseling and empowerment trainings are organized and conducted, that the girls are followed-up individually, that need assessments are preformed to ensure that we actually help those in need of scholarships, and so on. This is also a way to work for female empowerment, since we give women work, experience and competency. In addition, as we pay salary to people in Nepal it empowers the society as it puts more money into circulation in the local economy.
How do you ensure that the money is used on what it is intended for?
Since we started, the Nepalese authorities have become stricter in enforcing auditing, and CAN has professional accounting routines and performs annual external audits.
How do you elect the girls we support? How do you work in Nepal?
She=precious is the result of deep friendships across cultures. This means we ensure sustainable development through local ownership, which in turn maximizes our influence. We co-create with a local organization called Change Action Nepal (CAN), who was started by Indira Ghale (also one of our founders) to formalize our work. Read more about how we started here (link to our story).
It is CAN that elects who we will support. They look for cases in vulnerable areas and make assessment and mapping of the needs to the girls and their families. This way we can ensure that we give support to those who actually need it and those who do not have opportunity to provide education for themselves. In addition, they have a large network of individuals and organizations who gives them information about girls that need their help. In some cases girls or their families make direct contact and apply for support. CAN also works with schools and local authorities to find those who need help. There is great demand for the support we provide and therefore not a challenge to find girls who need our help.
Do you support boys as well?
Yes. About 10% of those we provide and have provided scholarships to are boys – they are also part of the solution to reach our goals. Some of them have even been victims of human trafficking or have mothers who have been victim of this (which has caused some of the boys to be born with HIV).
Those we support will be actors of change in Nepal, so it is positive to have both girls and boys represented. We see that this gives a good balance in the different communities those we support are a part of; they genuinely support each other, and the boys develop an understanding of gender equality and the value girls have. In the long run, this will be of great importance for a change of attitude in the local communities we work in.
Have all the girls you give scholarships to been victims of human trafficking?
No. About 25% of those we support have been victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse or worked in the sex industry. The rest are vulnerable to ending up in such situations.
In Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok, which are two out of four districts we work in, human trafficking is expanding and the girls living there are vulnerable to be victimized by the industry. If they go to school, they are more protected from trafficking, as they get a safe environment to their everyday life and become a future resource for the family, and not just an expense from the family’s point of view (when girls in Nepal get married, the family must give a dowry to the husbands’ family, which can be quite expensive).
In the slums we work in, in Kathmandu, the only viable future for girls, if they do not receive the scholarships, is to sell themselves already from the age of 13-14. The rest of those we support are often from low castes and poor families, which means they have few opportunities that makes them vulnerable to ending up in prostitution or trafficking. These girls are full of potential and the majority is highly motivated to go to school and many of them get very good grades.
How do you help the girls in Nepal?
The girls mainly receive scholarships and school uniforms and -materials so they can go to school all the way up to a bachelor’s degree. Some of the girls are well into their teens and are illiterate when they enter our program, and in these cases, it is not relevant to focus on a long school career up to a bachelor, but rather ensure that they get basic reading, arithmetic and writing skills, as well as practical vocational training.
In addition, the girls receive follow-up from our colleagues in Nepal, become part of a community with girls from similar situations, receive empowerment trainings about child marriage, menstrual hygiene, women’s health and risks around human trafficking, as well as career guidance and more. They also receive social counseling, and in some cases access to a psychologist and legal aid.
In some cases, we rescue girls from human trafficking, and then cooperate with other local organizations and the police to make it happen, and we connect the girls with organizations that offer safehouses, health care and follow-up if our team do not have the capacity or the right competence to do this themselves.
Why do you not show pictures of the girls?
Many of the girls we support have been exposed to extremely vulnerable situations. They have a right to privacy, and we want to protect them so that we do not do more harm than good to them. They obviously have internet, social media and Google translate in Nepal as well, so if we post recognizable pictures of the girls with names next to their stories or the problems we work with, it could ruin a lot for their future.
Do you have sponsorship schemes?
No, we have decided not to arrange sponsorship schemes in the form of a direct connection between donor and recipient. The reason for this is that this would require a lot more administration – and we would rather spend the money and the time we hav available on actually helping those we are helping. In addition, many of the girls have been exposed to vulnerable situations and we want to protect their privacy. In the same way that it is not okay to share information with background history, name and picture of a girl in Norway who has been abused or the like, it is also not okay to share such information about girls in Nepal. We share anonymous information about the girls and provide insight into our work and the issues we work with in social media, on the website and in our newsletters.
Do you run schools in Nepal?
No, we provide scholarships. The girls go to various local schools in the areas where they live.
Where do the girls live?
The vast majority live at home with their families. Indira Ghale also runs a development centre where 11 of the girls live as they of various reasons cannot live with their families. CAN has several organizations that run safehouses in their network and help girls who cannot live at home to find a place to live, through this network.
In what areas of Nepal do you work?
Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchok and Lalitpur.