In November I (Ross) had the great privilege of traveling to Kathmandu, Nepal to see the work of the SA Foundation with women (and their children) who are survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in that country. The experience made a profound impression on me.
The facilities and programs are truly impressive and the leaders (Arjun and Rebecca) are some of the most inspirational (and effective) people I have ever met.
But it was the women (and their kids), the beneficiaries, that had the biggest impact. All had horrific stories of consistent, ongoing sexual abuse from as young an age as 11. Few had ever experienced protection, care and love before being rescued and referred to SAF. Yet in this special, supportive, loving environment; and despite the need for ongoing professional nurturing…they were all just teens and young women who now dared to dream and hope for a positive future, just like young people in my own neighbourhood.
As a fun exercise and to underline that they are important, unique and valued individuals, I asked them to pretend I was a famous Bollywood director. In the most dramatic and expressive way they could conjure up, they were, one at a time, to yell out their names for the camera. Dramatic (and giggly), one-by-one they proudly called out their names. To me it sounded like, “My name is Hope!”
The SAF Nepal project is one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip. Once again Bernie and I will be old and cold. Please donate generously in support of our Dip and the great work of SAF. You can make a donation here or by visiting our page at calgaryicebreaker.com (search for Ross, Bernie or Old Guys in Action).