A disturbing novel about a young Nepalese girl sold into sexual slavery. Patricia McCormick describes events from the point of view of thirteen-year-old Lakshmi, who starts life happy in a small village in the Nepalese mountains. When the crops fail her stepfather asks her to go to India to work as a maid and support her family. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi travels to India and arrives at “Happiness House”. However, she soon discovers that she has been sold into prostitution and her misery begins. Unable to know who to trust or believe, she desperately dreams of finding a way out.
When researching for the book, Patricia McCormick traced the path taken by many Nepalese girls from remote mountain villages to the brothels of Calcutta. She interviewed many survivors. Some visit isolated villages to explain in person what really happens when girls leave home with strangers offering bogus jobs. Others are facing their traffickers in court. McCormick wrote this book in honour of these women.
A harrowing film version of this story was produced in 2014, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown.
NGOs working to combat child sexual exploitation in Nepal include the Luxembourg NGO ‘ECPAT Luxembourg’ http://ecpat.lu.
2) ‘All of us in our own lives’ by Manjushree Thapa
Published by Aleph book company, 2016
Manjushree Thapa tells a tale which brings together a diverse mix of players in the world of international aid. A disillusioned Nepalese adoptee from a law firm in Canada, a gender expert from an international NGO in Kathmandu, a girl co-opted as the accountant on a village women’s committee and a Nepalese expat worker from Dubai each have an effect on the lives of the others. With humour and insight Thapa describes the underlying reasons why people take the decisions they do and the unintended consequences of those decisions. This may be fiction, but the setting and dilemmas are familiar ones in Nepal and the tone rings true.
3) ‘My World My View’ by Sue Carpenter
Asha publications, 2007
Photographs by the girls of SOS Bahini*, Pokhara, Nepal
The aim of the project was to unlock creativity and self-expression by giving the girls cameras and encouraging them to develop their own unique vision through photography. This collection of photos gives a very personal insight into their view of the world.
* ‘SOS Bahini Nepal’ works in close cooperation with the Luxembourg NGO “Cooperation Humanitaire Luxembourg”. It is implementing a number of projects in Nepal with the main objective of preventing or alleviating the worse forms of violence, abuse and exploitation of children, girls & women in Nepal.
4) ‘The Waiting Land: A Spell in Nepal’ by Dervla Murphy
Published by Flamingo
An account by Irish writer Dervla Murphy of her travels and experiences in Nepal in the 1960s. Full of detail and sensitivity towards the local traditions, this book provides a wealth of information – some now historical – about Nepalese and Tibetan cultures.
5) ‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer
Published by Villard Books, 1997.
Jon Krakauer’s best-selling personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a “rogue storm” as a number of expeditions tried to summit on the same day.
6) ‘Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya’
David Zurick and Julsun Pacheco
University Press of Kentucky, 2006
A comprehensive atlas of the geography, economics, politics and culture of the whole Himalayan region, from northern Pakistan and India, across Nepal and Bhutan and into N.E. India.