Name: Abha Shrestha
What she does: Outreach with sex workers
Impact: Women and girls are happier, and have more knowledge about STIs, HIV and AIDS
Nominated by: Jeevan Shrestha, Former Global Xchange Programme Supervisor from Nepal
Abha Shrestha, 35, from Hetau Da, works in Kathmandu City, the capital of Nepal. She motivates others and raises awareness about STIs, HIV and AIDS, running trainings and classes to help sex workers change their occupation (commercial sex work puts health at risk and provides irregular and low income).
Between 2008 and the end of 2010, Abha worked with a group of women and girls involved in the sex trade (in Kathmandu) through Sahayatri Nepal (an NGO). During this period she did outreach work to learn more about the women and girls engaged in the sex trade, and helped them with a number of services. These included delivering health awareness orientations, talking to them about women’s empowerment and leadership, and giving them counselling. She built rapport with the women and girls, and succeeded in bringing many of them to Sahayatri Nepal office for health awareness education, skill development, income generation programmes, as well as non formal education, English language sessions, and referral to Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) at the HIV and AIDS centre, support their children to go to school as well as looking for sponsors for those children, condom distribution to women and girls, and education about STIs, HIV and AIDS. Mrs. Abha rescued some of the women and girls from their profession (sex trade) and helped them in getting seed money from other networking organization so that they could start small vendor businesses (which is respected by community people, gives a better income and does not put the women and girls’ lives at risk).
After this kinds of intervention (from Abha’s initiation), the women and girls were happier, gained knowledge on STIs, HIV and AIDS and they are proud to start work independently, and have educated other women and girls too leave the sex trade profession. Some of these women have become activists against this type of job.