How the Nivasa Foundation is an inspiring charity born from a desperate situation.
Beatrice Fernando was a victim of modern-day slavery.
She was born and raised in Sri Lanka but by 23 years old she found herself divorced and in need of a way to support her son by herself. Desperate to find work, she answered an ad to work as a housekeeper in Lebanon.
She left her son in the care of her parents and went to work in Lebanon in the hopes of making enough money to send back to her son. However, when she arrived, the agency that brought her there took her passport and sent her to work in the house of a wealthy woman and her family.
Beatrice was never paid, was not allowed to leave the house, and was beaten regularly.
After months of working there, with nothing but leftover scraps to eat and the possibility of being shot by guards if she tried to leave the house, Beatrice made a desperate attempt to escape.
She jumped off of the fourth-floor balcony. She was then taken to the hospital where she found out she was paralyzed. After a long and difficult recovery, Beatrice was able to walk again, and she made it back to her son and parents in Sri Lanka.
The “employment” agency that sent her to work there knew what they were doing. The business of this agency was human trafficking, and they are by no means a unique organization. Such agencies exist all over the world. They almost exclusively hire women, who are then subjected to enslavement and abuse: physical, sexual, and psychological.
Beatrice realized that she was not the only person to undergo such a terrible experience, and decided to help others by creating the Nivasa Foundation.
The Nivasa Foundation is an NGO that works to raise awareness about human trafficking in the hopes of preventing it from happening, as well as helping victims of slavery recover.
Moreover, the Nivasa Foundation helps provide food, clothing, and education to women and their families in Sri Lanka who have been victims of slavery and supports them in their rehabilitation. By providing aid to children in areas that are high-risk for human trafficking, it lessens the financial burden on the mother and decreases the possibility that she will seek “employment” overseas.
“Nivasa” is a word from the Sinhalese language, the main language of Sri Lanka, and means “home.” This word was chosen because the foundation hopes to help create safe and secure homes for victims of human trafficking and slavery.
If you are interested in learning more, you can check out the Nivasa Foundation website, as well as learn of ways in which you can help break the cycle of slavery modern-day slavery and human trafficking in all parts of the world:
How well aware are you of the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking? What else would you like to know? Let us know in the comments below.