It all started in 1998 with a newspaper article in The London Sunday Telegraph titled, "Today's offer in Nepal's slave market: buy one get one free." After reading this article and learning about the plight of Nepali kamaiyas (slaves), businessman Marian Noronha made his first trip to Nepal in 1999 with the mission of freeing slaves and their families from their generational bondage and debt. Working alongside two Nepali men in the Far West region, Marian freed seven families in 1999 then thirty-five more families in 2000.
The forty-two redemptions took place in Tikapur, west of Nepalgunj. With the help of many others, Marian purchased land and settled the former kamaiyas in three villages, ViswasNagar (Town of Faith), AshaNagar (Town of Hope), and PremNagar (Town of Love). In July of 2000, the King of Nepal banned slavery and settled thousands of former slaves in government camps called siwirs.
Part of the list featured in the video and the page background
A clip from 1999 of Marian redeeming a slave and his family
Twenty years later, Bridge to Nepal continues to support former slave communities in Far West Nepal through relationships with our local partners. These dedicated men and women are the true "boots on the ground" who make it all happen. Our major focus areas are schools, serving at risk kids, raised platform buildings in flood affected areas, clean water solutions, and disaster relief. It is our great joy to tell the stories of how lives are being changed through acts of redemption, projects to bring future hope, and the building of relationships.
To read more about a specific area of our work, click here.