Source: Global Press Institute
KATHMANDU, NEPAL – A narrow lane in Dumbarahi, an area of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, leads to a house that is under construction. Inside the house, a dark stairway ends in a congested room with two beds, a closet, TV, stove, table, and some pots and pans.
In the same room, atop one of the beds, a 10-year-old is watching an interview of her mother, Charimaya Tamang, on a 9 a.m. Nepali TV show. Time and again, Tamang too tries to glance at herself being interviewed on the TV as she finishes her kitchen duties in the crammed but organized room. She has to feed her husband and family before she goes to work.
Tamang was being interviewed about the award she won earlier this year. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton awarded her the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award in June 2011.
For 13 years, Tamang has worked with Shakti Samuha, a nongovernmental organization that calls itself the first NGO here to be established and run by survivors of trafficking. Tamang, who was trafficked as a teenager, founded the organization with fellow survivors in 1996.
One wall of the room is decorated with a neat row of letters of appreciation. The letters are from different organizations she has worked with and people she has helped through her NGO since she was rescued from a brothel herself. As her phone rings, she moves to answer it. She explains her work schedule for the day to the caller.
A native of Haibung, a village in the Sindhupalchok district in central Nepal, Tamang, 33, is the youngest of her three siblings. She grew up in a poor family, and her father died when she was 15.
Tamang says she completed primary school and wanted to continue studying. But there was no school in her village beyond that level, and she says society here also prefers women to stick to household chores. So she spent most of her days grazing the family's cattle, cutting grass and collecting firewood.
When she turned 16, she says men from her village, Kyar Singh Tamang, Bire Tamang, Manu Tamang and Krishna Tamang, a common last name in Nepal's Tamang ethnic group, tried to lure her to go with them every time they saw her doing her daily chores. They often tempted her with prospects of a good job in one of the shops in a local commercial town since she could do basic math.
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