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Greater impact with small initiation : Ms. Menuka Thapa

Ms. Menuka Thapa, founding President of Raksha Nepal, believes that we can make a difference in the society with small but effective initiation. Menuka was the ninth child of her parents and when she was in womb her father died in an accident, so the society blamed her to be the cause behind her father's death. After her father's death she along with her family was forced to move out of their house. Her mother and siblings made every effort to give her education and she was the only one to go to school but in the absence of basic needs education seemed luxury. She was a very good student but could not continue her studies due to the financial problem at her home. After leaving school she came to Kathmandu to her relative's house to seek support but they did not even properly response to her. After all that happened to her, she didn’t lose hope to study and secure a good future, so she went knocking the doors of social organizations, but they too discarded her request marking her situation as not being their work area. So with no option she decided to live her life on the footpath; in front of the Standard Chartered Bank from where she started a new life when Mr. Mohan Bahadur Thapa, Chief Engineer of Buddha Air found her and decided to sponsor her.

With good voice and interest she then decided to take up music as a subject in her college. Everyone in her family along with her sisters and relatives were against her when she decided to work at Dohori Restaurant. But with enthusiasm and interest she went against everyone where she learned the plight of women working at the restaurants, massage parlors, dance bars and Dohori restaurants. The women were abused in the name of massage and were forced in commercial sex without even giving them their salary. With Menuka's initiation, women were able to gather, discuss about their issues and confronted restaurant's owners, massage parlor owners and even were able to get their salary on time. So she decided to form an organization to empower women who have been abused and have been forced into commercial sex.

Today Raksha Nepal has been one of the organizations working actively on rescuing girls from internal human trafficking and has been providing trainings and shelter to destitute women. Moreover, Raksha Nepal has formed its own co-operative and registered a school in its own name so that the children of these women need not be deprived of education. With co-operative, women have learnt to save their earnings for future use and have been very enthusiastic in saving money. In the absence of funds, Raksha Nepal still has not been able to work on awareness in all the areas of Nepal but in the very near future, it is planning to work on the areas from where women are mostly trafficked.

With threatening calls from different people, Menuka still have the zeal to work for women empowerment and has been advocating for the rights of deprived women. When asked about the legalization of commercial sex work in Nepal, she responded "Women are not into this field with their interest except few exceptions and it is them who has to decide whether CSW is to be legalized or not, we only need to inform about the consequences of legalization not advocate but we need to make them able to advocate their issue by themselves because it is them who the law will effect most." With all hopes, enthusiasm, interest and motivation she still continues to empower women to advocate for their rights.

Comments

JaniceW's picture

Inspiring

Anjana, Namaskar. I am so moved by this story. Thank you for sharing Menuka's life with us. To have overcome all the odds against her and then to go on to touch the hearts and minds of others in order to help make this world a better place for women, is inspiring.

I was also delighted to read that it was a man who reached out with a helping hand as it illustrates how even in a patriarchal society, there are men who support women and are willing to empower them through opportunity, education and encouragement. Does she have a website? If so, perhaps you can add it so that people can learn more about Raksha Nepal. Thank you for drawing attention to these amazing women whom are often never heard of but are moving mountains to change women's lives for the better.

lanjana's picture

Hi Janice, I know women of

Hi Janice,

I know women of such caliber working at the grassroot level are not much talked about or are not noticed. Thank you for your comment I have forwarded your comment to Menuka dd, I too tried to keep the website of Raksha Nepal but the website is suspended currently. It might take some days to re-start the website, the wedsite is www.rakshanepal.org.np

thank you once again

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