About a year ago, I was in a goal setting/planning workshop with business coach, Heidi Alexandra Pollard and other Leading Ladies, when I stated that one of my dreams was, “to go to a third-world country to do a photography project that will have a positive impact in the world and help other people in some way.”
About four weeks ago, the universe answered and that dream of mine began to come to life. Belinda Bow, from Green Chilli Marketing and Ambassador for 3 Angels Nepal, called and asked me if I wanted to come to Nepal to do the still photography for a documentary she was organising to be filmed there.
The documentary is being made for a non-profit organisation called 3 Angels Nepal. It aims to bring awareness to the world of the horrendous sex-trafficking of women and children from remote Nepalese villages to across the border to India.
3 Angels Nepal is a small glowing beacon of hope, love and safety for the thousands of women and children that are tricked, tortured and trafficked into sex slavery, many never to see their home and family again. Some 20,000 women and children are trafficked each year and 3 Angels Nepal has managed to rescue about 4,500 of them. This non-profit organisation provides a safe haven and homes for those rescued and those still at risk of being trafficked. They are then educated in the 3 Angels Mission School.
So this is it – my photography project that will have a positive impact in the world and help other people. A team of four of us Novocastrians – Belinda Bow (project manager and 3 Angels Nepal Ambassador), Daniel Bracken (cinematographer from Native Media), Robyn Raymond (3 Angels Nepal Ambassador) and myself – are leaving a week today for Kathmandu, Nepal.
I am happy, excited, and nervous – a little family of butterflies are flapping away in my belly – but I know this is an important journey that we are undertaking.
Have you ever had a feeling that you were meant to do more with your life? Four years ago I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. I spent 12 months receiving treatment – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. After such a roller coaster ride, I came through that time feeling gratitude – I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have the beautiful love and support of family and friends, grateful to live in a country where medical treatment is so accessible. I have found that feeling such gratitude brings with it a desire to ‘pay it forward’, pay my respects to the ‘universe’ and do something to help others.
It has been really interesting to see the reaction of people when I have told them I was going to Nepal. I was at the post office getting my Nepalese Visa photo and the lady behind the counter said, “Are you looking forward to trekking? Are you going to Annapurna?”.
I told her ‘no’, that I was going to assist with a documentary about the sex-trafficking of women and children from Nepal across the border to India. She was shocked and said, “THAT happens in Nepal? I have never heard of that happening there!”
The sad, sad reality is that in the remote villages of Nepal many people are illiterate, very poor and so are ripe pickings for traffickers who approach the villagers with promises of work, money and the chance to live a wealthier life in India. This is far from what the young women and children find when they arrive in India. They are caged, tortured and kept in brothels. There are entire villages in Nepal with no women or children left.
Nepal is the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. It is a sad irony that Nepal has such a horrific ‘underbelly’ – a child sex-slave industry and that is why I am going. Not to visit the birth place of Buddha or climb Everest…to help tell the story through my photography. We are playing a very small part in making a difference in the world.
If you wish to learn more or donate to 3 Angels Nepal, please visit www.3angelsnepal.com