“I was visiting these relatives to stay with them overnight when I was sexually abused. I was only 13 years old, and in a lot of pain. I was very scared and couldn’t make out what was going on. I was also worried about whether I would be supported by anyone to cope with what had happened, or I would be left all alone.”

Despite being scared, Asha found the courage to talk to her family who supported her by making her feel safe and listened to. Soon after, a Community Based Organisation member was informed of the incident and reported it to CLAMP project staff. A consultation was set up with the District Officer and a case was filed at the local police station against the perpetrator. He is currently being remanded in custody, awaiting sentencing.

In 2020, Asha was referred to Shakti Samuha by Nuwakot district police. She as provided with medical support through the One-stop Crisis Management Centre, run by the Government of Nepal, which supports victims of abuse and violation. She was later welcomed to Shakti Samuha’s shelter home for counselling-support and rehabilitation.

Asha spends her days at the shelter home and is involved in informal education and extracurricular activities. She also participates in a programme offered by Harambee Art Nepal. This supports survivors of sexual violence and abuse through their trauma and recovery. It includes life skills, meditation and healing sessions, and empowerment workshops.

 “After the incident, I felt as if my life had finished and there was no way I could re-live it. But during the sessions and discussions in the shelter home, I learnt about the different types of abuse and modern slavery issues. I saw videos and heard stories of slavery and assault cases, how victims were able to change their lives for better after receiving support. I was inspired by listening to the case and achievements of Miss Charimaya Tamang (the co-founder of Shakti Samuha) with struggles and hurdles she faced.”

Asha is doing well in her informal education classes and she wishes to continue her studies. She has also been learning self-defence and going to martial arts training. Along with this support, she’s received training in cushion making to help her become financially independent after leaving the shelter home.

Because of the support she has received, Asha is now hopeful about the future.

“I aim to fight against abuse and modern-day slavery in my future and raise my voice to ensure a dignified life for survivors like me.”