When I arrived in Kathmandu, Nabaraj, Eva's driver, was waiting for me outside the airport. It was late in the evening but the tiredness of a long flight quickly vanished when I saw the magnificent spectacle in front of me: a city of lights. It was the first day of Tihar (Diwali in Nepal) and the buildings where sparkling in the thick night air.
I was driven to Gokarna, a home for teenage girls that Eva had funded. She wouldn't arrive until later on and I was unsure what to expect. After cruising through a cacophony of car horns, loud music from speakers, drums and prayers, animal squawks, grunts and bleats, I arrived to Gokarna. The air was a little bit fresher there, the iron gate opened after I knocked and a group of vivacious girls between 7 and 17 years old came running to welcome me with a warm hug and thousands of questions! They told me about the earthquakes, how they were living in tents, how scared they were but also how much fun they had living all together outside and playing all day. It was love at first sight.
After I learnt the stories of some of the girls before Eva found them, I could appreciate even more the tough but fruitful journey that each one of them and also Eva and her team had gone through. I found out that it wasn't just about helping one girl now, it was about giving them the education and tools to have a dignified life now and in the future. This will impact their children and their children's children. It is a small home, only 14 girls, but it is already changing the way Nepal sees and treats women (especially poor ones), one girl at a time.
Why girls? There is an outrageous high percentage of street girls who are snatched at a very young age by human traffickers and some are even sold by their families. Eva is currently writing a book about this topic. The homes in Kathmandu protect and educate girls so they have a present, a future and can also heal their past. It was a truly heart-opening experience to listen to the Gokarna girls talking about their future careers and their dreams and how each one of them were committed to make Nepal a better place and help others. Right, I thought, I am here with you. As much as I can I am committed to help you. And here we are, traveling again to Nepal to produce Butterfly Wings, a documentary about how ordinary people can create extraordinary change. Eva Holmberg-Tedert is just one person helping a limited group of people, who will be helping others, who will help others... That's the power of true compassion.
The girls in the picture above are Tenzing and Renuca. One morning they appeared outside my room 'dressed like Lakshmi', the Goddess of Abundance. They brought me breakfast and they asked me to take their picture. Renuca wants to be a doctor and Tenzing was not sure yet, either a clothes designer or a cyclist. The fact that they can even dream and feel that they have the choice to decide their future is already so powerful. They are learning to be free. Confident, empowered, intelligent, energetic, aware, skilled, compassionate. These girls and many like them are the future of Nepal.
Butterfly Wings, as with Eva's projects, is multilayered. By telling Eva's story we are also spreading the word about how important each individual is and how every single person is a powerful agent for change. Each one of these girls will create a better world for themselves, their children, their communities, their country. We cannot be more honoured to be telling this story.
We have been crowdfunding in the past and saving as much as we could ourselves. But to make this documentary we need as much help as we can have. If you feel called to help us tell Eva's story, please share our website, connect with us on Facebook and become part of our producing team by contributing with as little or as much as you wish when our crowdfunding campaign goes live on Monday 4th of September 2017. Thank you so much. Namaste!
Rory and Veronica.