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“We will be a stronger more sustainable organisation at the end of the project.” Sarala Tamang, CLAMP

CLAMP, which stands for Community Led Action against Modern-slavery and Poverty, is a three year project focused on ending modern slavery and human trafficking in Nepal and supporting those who have been victims. To deliver this programme we are partnering with Shakti Samuha. We spoke to Project Manager Sarala Tamang to find out more about their work in Nepal and what CLAMP will achieve.

Tell us about Shakti Samuha

Shakti Samuha is the first organisation in the world that was started and is run by survivors of human trafficking. In 1996, when a red-light area in India was raided by police,around 500 girls were rescued. More than 200 were Nepalese girls, of which about 128 girls returned home to Nepal. Fifteen of these girls went on to set up Shakti Samuha. They realised being trafficked was not their fault and they wanted to prevent more girls and women, those who are at high risk of human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Shakti means power and Samuha means group, so this is a 'power group' and the 15 survivors, they turned their tears into the power.

How does being a survivor-led organisation benefit your work?

Working with the survivors of human trafficking is so different to learning from research and reports - you get so much more knowledge. To work alongside survivors, to learn from their experience and how they behave, and to see what the right way for me to work with other survivors is makes coming to work like university for me. And our stakeholders, such as the community people and government bodies, know that the organisation was established and is run by survivors of human trafficking and so that gives us more credibility as working with the victim centric approach.

Have things changed for survivors in the 22 years since Shakti Samuha was founded?

Yes. If we look at the scenario of 1996 when the Indian police raided the red light district,several organisations raised a voice that the girls should be repatriated by the government of Nepal. But at that time the government resisted, saying their identification would be difficult and there was concern about HIV and AIDS amongst those who had been sexually exploited would spread HIV in nation and it would make a nation as a dumping side. There was a lot of social stigmatisation. It was a really difficult time for survivors of human trafficking to open up. But now the scenario is quite changed and the government has been supporting Shakti Samuha and the survivors of human trafficking. Community people also has positive behaviour towards the survivors of human trafficking, violence and other survivors as well but still more steps are required for the fast repatriation, rehabilitation and successful reintegration of the survivors as well economic empowerment.

What is the goal of CLAMP?

We are focusing on communities in extreme poverty, those who are marginalised, those in vulnerable conditions, people with disability and the survivors of human trafficking and violence. The government of Nepal has identified that these areas are most prone to trafficking. Our research found that in these areas there was a high drop out rate amongst school children and there are fewer child protection mechanisms, which increases the risk and poverty level too. Some of the opportunities we can see from CLAMP is improving the retention rate of the children and helping to re-enrol those who’ve already dropped out promoting their education and economic empowerment through livelihood will give us a result in poverty reduction. From that we can reduce the vulnerabilities and contribute to decreasing modern day slavery among children and women.

How will the programme be delivered?

We are mobilising 180 Youth Change Agents and they will be leading the community outreach work. When Shakti Samuha started to become a leading organisation the founders realised we need a second generation who will come up to lead the organisation and to continue the work that they have been doing. So we committed to developing another generation to be the future leaders. The youth agents leading the change from within their own communities will make it more sustainable because this project has a certain lifespan but they will remain in their communities.

How will the ChildHope partnership help you to deliver this project?

We bring a lot of experience on anti-human trafficking issues, but for child protection issues we have less experience so this partnership has provided a knowledge partner in Voice of Children who will help us develop our expertise in this area. ChildHope are also supporting us with the sustainability aspect of this project and helping us to develop our monitoring and evaluation. This will be a very new experience for Shakti Samuha – we have been documenting our work for a long time but only in hard copy format not in MIS system. ChildHope will support Shakti Samuha to digitise our M&E and develop our systems in a systematic way. Also ChildHope has been supporting for the the capacity development areas for the staffs and board committee members too for the sustainability of the organisation. We will be a stronger more sustainable organisation at the end of the project through working with Voice of Children and ChildHope.

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