This is the second in a series of articles as part of the WorldCraftssm Set1Free campaign. This campaign highlights WorldCrafts artisan groups working to end sexual exploitation and human trafficking among the world’s poor.
When Sara and Cara first heard about Higher Ground Crafts (Nepal), they were teenagers working as dance bar girls. Men would pay a high price to leave with them and have sex at their one-room, mud apartment. But the neighbors began complaining of the illicit activity next door, and Sara, with her infant son, and Cara stood on the edge of eviction when Higher Ground’s founder, Bimala, heard about them and came to visit two years ago.
Bimala counseled Sara and Cara that their work was dangerous, posing serious risks to their life and health, as well as to the well-being of Sara’s son. She told them that if they left that occupation behind, she could offer them training and a salaried job in jewelry making. The girls thought it over.
Cara began working at Higher Ground two weeks later. She now follows Christ, and the Lord has given her a new life with dignity. Cara, today 19, is finishing her 12th grade and continues at Higher Ground making exquisite handcrafted jewelry, available through WorldCrafts.
Sara decided to move apartments and continue with her risky but lucrative career at the dance bars. As the eldest daughter in her family, she was (and still is) responsible for providing for herself, her son, her mother, and one of her sisters. Higher Ground heard nothing from her for about 18 months, though they continued to pray for her.
Finally, a few months ago, Sara contacted Cara and inquired whether she could join her in making jewelry. Of course, the answer was yes. Sara, now 21, has begun working at Higher Ground with a good salary and a scholarship for her son. She is also learning how to manage her time and money and care for her son.
However, it hasn’t been easy, and about two months ago she told staff she was considering going back to dance bar hostessing in order to earn more income. Sara again was patiently counseled about the health risks and about how her decisions could affect the psychological and emotional upbringing of her son. She was told it was against Higher Ground’s policies to allow her to work at both places, but that she was free to make her own decisions about her life and job.
Recently Sara told Bimala that she had thought it over and decided that she would never go back to her old job! She has found good friends at Higher Ground Crafts and has been able to live with dignity and raise her son.
Your purchase of these items from WorldCrafts allows for the expansion of Higher Ground’s work among the sexually exploited in Nepal. As WorldCrafts orders additional jewelry, Higher Ground can employ more women on the path to freedom. For a free catalog, call 1-800-968-7301.