Geeta Shresta is in her late 20's. She is one of our original girls - the first batch of girls to have entered into our girls' home. She was just 13 years of age at the time. Now Geeta has a masters degree in business and works for a Nepal based Christian not-for-profit organisation. She is a great young woman with a lot of responsibility and a fantastic heart.
Nepal is a land locked nation which acts as a buffer between the northern and southern giants of China and India respectively. Following years of a bloody Maoist insurgency there is now relative peace. However, while the politicians continue to argue and fight, through their disunity they squander the economic hopes of Nepal's 30 million citizens.
Nepal is ranked second to Afghanistan as Asia's most impoverished nation with more than 40% of the population living off less than $2 a day. Nearly one third of homes do not have toilets.
We have three homes all of which are located in Kathmandu city. Two homes are for Nepali boys and girls who come from right around the nation. These homes make up our Nepali registered NGO known as Asha Kendra. While our third home is specifically for Sherpa tribal boys from the mountains.
Many people know that Sherpa tribal men are Nepal's "mountain mules" who assist tourists and mountaineers alike to trek and climb in the Himalayas. This is a particularly dangerous task with many deaths. This, combined with the massive earthquake(s) that struck Nepal in 2014, has made our Sherpa boys especially vulnerable. Currently we have 19 boys staying.
At our Asha Kendra boys' home we work hard to develop our young people to become Christian professionals who will contribute towards the good of the nation. Our selection process is rigorous. The boys must sit an exam to enter the home. This is because we stress education. In fact we anticipate that all of the boys will graduate from university. Whilst this makes the development of our boys an expensive task, we expect them to return one third of the funds that we have given towards their university education.
Our boys and girls study unbelievably hard by western standards. For example, for a month prior to exams all the children will daily start their study from about 5 am and finish at 10 am at which time they go to school. On returning home they commence study again, finally going to bed about 11 pm. Apart from a regular evening meeting and meals there are few breaks in the day for them. Our house parents love the boys and girls. Apart from emphasizing the childrens' education, they also endeavour to develop their characters too.
Sushil Nepali is an Asha Kendra Boys' Home graduate. He writes "...I belong to the Badi tribal community of Nepal. This is a backward, poor, marginalized and stigmatized community. Our Hindu caste is known as Dalit (Untouchable). There are almost no educated people in our community. I was born into a Hindu family.
My father accepted Jesus Christ as saviour when I was five years old. When I was just a small child I had a great passion to become a medical missionary doctor. Then God did a miracle in my life by giving me a great chance to join Asha Kendra (EMPOWER ASIA NEPAL boys’ home in Kathmandu) from grade eight. I lived there for seven years. I was taught the meaning of life and I learnt how we should live through Jesus Christ. I had many opportunities to take part in all manner of school activities; sports, music and academic as well as church activities."
ABOVE: Our Nepali boys (pictured above) must sit an entrance examination to gain entry into our home (Asha Kendra – The Hope Centre). Though they are poor, most of these boys are very smart. We have genuine expectations that they will become positive Christian agents within their society. Nepal is experiencing a spiritual revival and so accordingly we are confident that these young men will in time step up and play their part in helping to lead this movement.
Sushil continues "..... I always wanted to experience the touch of the Holy Spirit. One time at the hostel I got a chance to attend a Christian conference. The pastor was praying for everyone and he prayed for me also. Then I felt his (the Holy Spirit's) touch. My life changed. From then on I completely gave my life to Jesus Christ.
In my Hindu community I am the first one to study medicine. After completing 12th grade at high school I joined a coaching class in order to gain entrance for MBBS (medical degree). One Saturday, I went to church. It was during praise and worship that the leader came to me and said, “Brother I don’t know you. I don’t know what you are studying but God has shown me in a vision that you are already a doctor.” I was very happy but I still had not got into medical school! I started praying about it. Then I wrote my MBBS entrance exams. I did not qualify however. In fact, it took four attempts before I was successful.
At a later time the same church leader again prayed for me when God spoke to him again saying that I would not get into a medical college in a “cold place” but that my medical college would be in a “hot place”. Following this I sat the entrance exam for Christian Medical College, Vellore in Tamil Nadu southern India – a very hot place. It is a dream of every Indian child to join this particular medical college because it is one of the very best in Asia (and second in India). All glory to the Lord.
Our heart to work with girls was especially motivated when we discovered the number of Nepali girls, who through no fault of their own, end up in being cross-border trafficked into India's sex industry. Many girls each year are sent as sex slaves to fill brothels in Mumbai and Kolkata. Many girls contract the HIV virus within 6 months. And there ends a future.
Our Asha Kendra girls’ home has been operating since 2001. Our Nepali leaders have sought to not only prevent our daughters from ending up in slave or bonded labour situations but also to equip them to reach university so that in time they may become self supporting Christian professionals.