My Volunteer Trip to Help Children

My name is Rachael
. For the past three years I have been working as an Advocate for people who have been victimized by abuse. The majority of my experience has been working with women and children.

Currently, I am employed at a non-profit center in Lewisburg, West Virginia that provides free services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and their families.

My job title is Prevention Educator -- which means I get to go into the schools in our three county service area and teach curriculum that will educate children about sexual abuse and domestic violence so that they will not become victimized or victimize others. Frequently in my work I meet children who have already been victimized and may have never told anyone. Many children have confided in me about their abuse and I am thankful that I was able to provide direct and referal services to protect these children and help them begin healing.

However, many children around the world have fewer resources, or these resources are underfunded and short staffed. In many places these types of crimes are not enforced by local goverment. For this reason, I have offered my services to a similar organization whos mission is to provide support, counseling, and education to child victims.

Through United Planet, i've been offered the opportunity to provide services to children across the world in Hetauda, Nepal. In order to get there, I have to ask for generous support from people who support the cause to provide free services to victims of abuse. I will be living and working in the counseling center for three weeks in May, 2015.  The United Planet Quest Coordinator informed me that this particular placement is infrequently filled due to the specific nature of the work which requires that volunteers have both a degree in the required field as well as experience providing services.  This has really motivated me to put myself out there and make the commitment to give my time and energy to this cause. I know that this experience will allow me to gain new perspective and skills that I plan to utilize in order to provide better services to the children that I currently serve in Southern West  Virginia.

Statistics for Katmandu, Nepal
According to information obtained from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), "sexual abuse is widespread among Nepal's street children." Because, currently, sexual abuse of boys is not recognized by government, these children are unable to seek justice for their abuse. The NSVRC shows that, based on a 2008 report, there were approximately 1000 boys living on the streets of Katmandu -- and state that some 75% are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of foreigners, locals and their peers. In a study of 3,960 school and non-school based children that was conducted by UNICEF, researchers found that 18% of children reported sexual abuse or assault. That's approximately 712 children who were impacted by sexual abuse.
NSVRC Report


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Rachael Grace Elizabeth Austin 
Lewisburg, WV
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