pro filia annual report 2017


1. Introduction

The year 2017 once again saw great strains for Nepal. Among them massive monsoon floodings in the South of the country – exactly in the area where a number of our projects are situated. Several hundred men and women lost their lives. Moreover Nepal faced severe social and political tensions as political representatives were elected on all levels for the first time in more than 20 years. Large parts of the country were literally paralyzed during the election campaign which also affected some of our projects. It was, for instance, impossible to conduct the 2nd three-month-course in the computer training center. This long, often aggressive election campaign also cost the lives of many people.

Besides keeping up the basic projects "transit home", "rehabilitation home", "border guards" and "awareness campaigns", also in 2017 it was paramount for pro filia to offer as many saved Nepalese girls/young women as possible the perspective to receive training and/or jobs with the goal to help them earn an income of their own and lead a dignified life. In this context we continuously try to build up training schemes that appear rather unusual according to the traditional image women have in Nepal but eventually lead to a better income, more self-confidence and respect for women. Among these trainings that have been in strong demand for several years are courses in computer competencies, hardware repair as well as driving lessons for cars and motor rickshaws. Please see pts. 5 and 6 for more details.

The first girls daring to take the wheel and steer!
The first girls daring to take the wheel and steer!


2. The issue of human trafficking

In many areas of Nepal, girls have been considered to be virtually useless for centuries. They cost money, parents must pay a dowry for the usually very early (forced) marriage and from then on, daughters work in their husbands’ household caring for his parents and not for their own ones. Very often girls are victims of domestic violence and rape.

And Nepalese girls are enslaved in large numbers: each year approximately 12,000 of them are sold to Indian brothels where they are sexually exploited. Very often they are no older than 12 – 16 years. The vast majority does not survive this – girls die from the effects of violence and diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis, etc.! Due to their often fair skin tone, Nepalese women are deemed to be particularly beautiful in India. Furthermore, India - where baby girls are frequently aborted or killed immediately after birth - experiences an increasing lack of women.

Some girls can be released from brothels – e.g. by a rescue network in India built up by our Nepalese partner organization MAITI! pro filia is supporting these girls whose parents often do not take them back. And pro filia also contributes to preventing many girls from being sold in the first place! Projects in Nepal financed by pro filia give almost 2,000 girls per year the chance to lead a self-determined, humane life.


3. Collaboration with MAITI Nepal

MAITI building in Kathmandu
MAITI building in Kathmandu

During our visit at MAITI in November 2016 we mutually agreed to offer more trainings and create further jobs in their own country in order to render as many girls and young women insensitive to the seemingly enticing promises of marriage or job offers abroad made by human traffickers. Project descriptions 5 and 6 show the results achieved in 2017 in more detail.


4. pro filia projects in Nepal

Project 1: Awareness campaigns and establishment of aid networks

The aims of this project are

  • To inform about the looming dangers of enslavement in seemingly attractive job offers or promises of marriage
  • To improve reintegration of surviving girls that are hitherto widely met with hostility
  • To establish an aid network for girls.Applied methods are inter alia ...

... discussion groups in villages on market days
... discussion groups in villages on market days

... street theater on the issue of human trafficking
... street theater on the issue of human trafficking

demonstrations for girls‘ and women’s rights!
... demonstrations for girls‘ and women’s rights!

Information to students both male and female
... Information to students both male and female

and training of key persons such as soldiers and police.
... and training of key persons such as soldiers and police.

and training of key persons such as soldiers and police.

The campaigns are conducted with the participation of young women who – by now employed by MAITI – are themselves survivors of human trafficking or who could be saved from this fate  just in time. This is how these awareness campaigns also contribute to creating jobs for rescued young women.

As these awareness campaigns are of great importance, pro filia transferred an additional 10,000€ for this purpose in 2017.

Results in 2017 in the catchment areas of Pashupatinagar, Bhairahawa and Itahari:

  • With door-to-door information campaigns, street theater and informational events about sex trafficking (and ways to get help), about 3,000 persons could be reached on market days in many villages.
  • Approximately 2,100 key person such as policemen and –women, teachers, government representatives, hotel employees and bus drivers were trained regarding the issue of sex trafficking and possibilities to help.
  • 152 pupils and students were made aware of the issue of sex trafficking and informed about aid networks and possibilities to protect themselves.
  • 80 households in Itahari were informed about sex trafficking and how to get help.

Project 2: Border guards

 Border guards are young women that could be rescued and were subsequently trained by MAITI and are now employed directly at the bustling border crossings to India. Against the background of their own experiences made, they address apparently endangered girls directly, offering the transit home as immediate safe haven. With the aid of the cooperating SI Clubs Münster-Mauritz,  Rhenen/Veenendaal and the Isle of Man, ten additional border guard positions could be established in the spring of 2016 which thanks to the Support of SI could be financed all through 2017. As 2017 drew to a close we had managed to add another 5 border guards now having a total of 35 border guards surveying eight crossings to India. Each of them conveys an average annual number of 50 girls straight from the Indian border to a MAITI Transit home. Thus through the jobs currently financed by pro filia, an approximate annual number of 1,750 girls can be prevented from being sold to a brothel every year.

 At the Indian border in Pashupatinagar alone, a total of 1,589 girls/young women could be contacted and moreover an approximate number of 17,000 cars, rickshaws and other vehicles were stopped and the passengers were informed about the dangers of slavery:

When visiting our projects we are always full of admiration for the straightforward manner in which the border guards approach rickshaws and cars that appear suggestive of transporting an endangered girl. They do ask drivers to present the necessary documents and even insist that girls get out of the cars. At the same time they try to verify by phone the information they are given by the drivers. Border police is always within the range of vision – a difficult job in a noisy, dusty and bustling atmosphere.

Border guards also report an increase of aggressive situations. Young men are trying to lure girls into going to India with them, promising marriage. In situations like these, the endangered girls often do not perceive the border guards as being protective but rather as enemies, preventing their long-held hope for marriage and a better life in India from coming true. At the start girls often do not believe that they have just been saved from being sold to a brothel. In this context, pro filia co- with the aid of the SI clubs financed a several days’ training including a de-escalation course for all border guards on our payroll. We conducted this training in December 2017.

Training of Border Guards
Training of Border Guards

We additionally increased the border guards’ salary by approx. 14% in Q4/2017 – after several years of service this was more than well deserved.


Project 3: Transit homes

Transit homes offer immediate help to endangered girls right at the border and also serve as first safe haven for girls that could be freed from Indian brothels. Also in cases of domestic violence, girls and women can find support here.

The Pashupatinagar Transit home
The Pashupatinagar Transit home

Dorm in the Transit home
Dorm in the Transit home

Results in 2017 for the Pashupatinagar Transit home:

  • The Pashupatinagar transit home offers shelter for 20 girls/young women at a time whose length of stay varies according to their individual requirements. Parents are contacted if the girls wish so. A family discussion is held to clarify if a girl can return home or is transferred e.g. to a rehabilitation center.
  • In 2017, the transit home successfully intervened in the cases of a total of 533 young women/ girls – the youngest of which nine years of age – thus preventing them from being sold:
    • 342 girls arrived straight from the border where they could be stopped literally at the last minute and thus prevented from being sold
    • 191 returned to their homes directly after being informed right at the border about the risk of being enslaved
  • 18 girls returned from India out of situations where they were sexually exploited or abused, e.g. as enslaved maids.
  • The transit home also serves as a primary contact in other cases of violence against girls/young women: 16 girls came out of situations of domestic violence. In discussions with all parties involved, solutions could be found more often than not.
  • Three girls were accommodated after being raped – the offenders were reported.
  • In 2017 the transit home carried out a search of 36 girls reported missing, 10 of which were found by MAITI and could be brought back home.

Costs for the Pashupatinagar Transit home have risen in the last years and we have increased our support in 2017 by 5.000 €.

The Bhairahawa Transit home:
pro filia’s financial contribution to the Bhairahawa Transit home has decreased by now as other donors could be found. The money is mainly invested in the establishment of aid networks and awareness campaigns in the Bhairahawa district, both organized by the transit home. The results of these activities are listed under “awareness campaigns” in this report.


Project 4: The Itahari Rehabilitation home

Saved girls that can’t or do not want to return to their families or are fleeing from domestic violence are transferred to a MAITI Rehabilitation home if they so wish. In these facilities they are helped to prepare for a self-determined life, they learn to read and write and participate in vocational trainings. Courses in modern agriculture, cooking, sewing etc. are offered.

During our visits many girls in our care expressed their worries about their future. Most of them would like to earn an income and build up a decent existence on their own. Therefore it is of great importance that pro filia does everything to provide trainings, start-up financing for the creation of jobs and micro credits for building an own little business. The increases are described under project points 5 and 6.

The Itahari Rehabilitation home
The Itahari Rehabilitation home ...

and girls that are trained there
... and girls that are trained there

In early 2017, pro filia transferred the money for 10 additional sewing machines and paid for the renovation of the training rooms providing new carpets and curtains.

Results in 2017:

  • In 2017, 42 saved girls/young women were taken care of in the rehabilitation home. They start learning how to read, write and calculate and are taken through professional trainings. They also receive a lot of information about their future daily life, such as HIV prevention, dangers of early marriage, contraception, women’s rights, support possibilities and protection against sex trafficking. The girls in care of the rehabilitation home were between 17 and 29 years of age.     
  • 35 of the 42 girls/young women completed their professional training   
  • A girl freed from an Indian brothel was taken care of   
  • 10 out of 39 girls reported missing could be found.    
  • Criminal actions such as rape, sex trafficking etc. were reported to the police.

Also the rehabilitation home is in sore need of more money to keep up its work and we have increased our support by 5,000 €. 


Project 5: Educational offers

By now pro filia finances a range of training opportunities for girls and young women in danger or saved from danger. As described above, an annual average of 35 – 40 saved young girls and women are trained to be seamstresses, cooks, agriculturists, mushroom farmers.

In order to give even more girls and young women career perspectives in their own country thus immunizing them against the traffickers‘ seemingly attractive marriage promises and job offers in India, pro filia has developed additional educational offers. Moreover, not only trainings in classical womens‘ professions should be created but also more diverse career perspectives that offer more income and lead to more self-confidence. 

Project 5.1: PC training
pro filia has been financing computer trainings since 2013 for an annual number of 40 girls. On the one hand the program is offered for preventive reasons: the training protects girls out of precarious family situations from being sold. On the other hands it offers the perspective of a self-determined life also to girls and young women that have been rescued. Besides the trainings, the equipment of the required computer training rooms and necessary repairs or the purchase of new computers were paid by pro filia. Additionally, weekend trainings are offered for young girls above the age of 10 to introduce them to the use of a PC, e.g. by a drawing program! 

The computer training center in Pashupatinagar
The computer training center in Pashupatinagar

Unfortunately, only 30 young women could receive PC training in 2017. A three months‘ course could not be held  due to the floodings and political tension. Pro filia paid for a number of new computers and a printer for the computer training center in 2017. 

Project 5.2: Computer hardware repair
In 2016 pro filia took over the training costs for 15 girls/young women who started computer hardware repair training in December 2016 completing the education in 2017. 

Computer hardware repair
Computer hardware repair

Project 5.3: Apiculture training
In 2016 pro filia also transferred the money to start a training for 20 young girls/women to become beekeepers. The project started in December 2016 and was finished in 2017. In August 2017 further 20 girls/young women started apiculture training.

Apiculture training
Apiculture training

Project 5.4: Chauffeur training
We developed this offer in 2016. Chauffeur training is divided into driving lessons for motorbike rickshaws and lessons for cars. It makes sense to have the women pass the drivers‘ exam for a motorbike rickshaw first to get accustomed to traffic.  A next step is then the license to drive a car. In 2017 we paid the drivers licenses for motorbike rickshaws for 10 young women and drivers licences for cars for further 10 young women.

Courageous girls that are overcoming their fear of driving cars and motorbike rickshaws
Courageous girls that are overcoming their fear of driving cars and motorbike rickshaws

Courageous girls that are overcoming their fear of driving cars and motorbike rickshaws

MAITI needed time to convince 20 girls to give it a try. Most girls were insecure and afraid in the first place, thinking that driving cars and rickshaws was a male domain and to work as a seamstress, for example, would require less of an effort. 20 of the girls that were encouraged to dare drivers’ training were, however, willing to give it a try. We can’t wait to see how this goes on.

Project 5.5: Training in the healthcare sector
Many areas of Nepal suffer from a severe undersupply of medical support. This is where we see possible career perspectives for young women. This kind of work would not only be highly accepted but could most probably also guarantee a sufficient income to ensure a decent existence. 

This is why during last year’s trip to Nepal, pro filia has established contacts with the Rabindra-Puri-Foundation in Bhaktapur. The prerequisites for the implementation of a three years’ training as a health counselor with focus on homeopathy are currently being clarified.

Project 6: The creation of jobs

Upon completion of trainings, problems regularly arise subsequently to find an employment that guarantees a dignified standard of living. In order to find helpful solutions to this issue, a concept for the creation of jobs was developed together with MAITI. With the help of start-up financing and microcredits, trained young women should get the chance to earn an income sufficient for them to subsist.

6.1: Establishment of typing offices 
During the meeting with MAITI end of 2013 it was decided to establish typing offices in 20 different locations in the Ilam (Pashupatinagar) district, staffed with at least two young women that have absolved the PC training. Locations are chosen for these offices where a similar service is not yet on offer. Besides services like writing letters, copying, scanning and internet access, information is provided about human trafficking and protection options – with the intention to increase the number of people made aware of this issue and to make as many girls and young women insensitive to the human traffickers’ seemingly enticing promises of marriage or tempting job offers in India. By the end of 2017, already 8 typing offices could be set up. 

During a visit of the Fikkal typing office, we met a number of very strong and inventive women. In the course of the two years since the foundation of their typing office they have made themselves known and do not only offer simple services, but also PC trainings for young girls.Moreover they themselves have come to be a point of contact for endangered girls that arrive on their own initiative or are brought by the police. They are given advice and are transferred to the Pashupatinagar shelter house if they so wish. As the women of the Fikkal typing office fulfill important tasks, the municipality of the place has now granted them a financial contribution. So far they said they have much work that still does not provide sufficient income. They are, however, enthusiastic about their work and strive for further income possibilities. For instance, they have installed sewing machines in their office as an additional offer to do tailoring and be able to employ more women.

Typing officesTyping offices
Typing offices

Project 6.2: Establishment of tailor shops 
From 2015 on, the installation of tailor shops each employing up to 6 young women had been planned together with MAITI. These tailor shops are located in very simple, small rooms to keep rental costs low. Pro filia takes over start-up financing with the goal that the tailor shops are self sustaining within about a year’s time. Some of the women involved try to turn the little places into a boutique by offering further items like shoes and decoration objects. By now, tailor shops have been installed at ten locations. 

Tailor shopsTailor shops
Tailor shops

Project 6.3: Start-up financing for the establishment of an independent small business
Also in 2017 pro filia transferred the funds for start-up financing to support a total of 36 women with the start of their own small business – most of them opened a small tailor shop or a boutique together with other women. They were being helped with this endeavour by MAITI during the start-up phase. 


5. Projects scheduled in 2018

 Already now we can foresee that pro filia is definitely going to fund the following projects in the year 2018:

  • Awareness campaigns and the establishment/maintenance of aid networks in the Ilam/Pashupatinagar, Bhairahawa and Itahari districts
  • The salaries for 35 border guards
  • The Pashupatinagar Transit home at the Indian border near Darjeeling
  • The Itahari Rehabilitation home
  • Computer training for 40 girls
  • Trainings to become a healthcare advisor with the Rabindra Puri foundation with which we hope to attain a corresponding agreement.

The financial situation permitting, further typing offices will be established. Furthermore we are discussing new projects with MAITI that are implemented together if identified as necessary within the scope of the collaboration.

In 2018 we will once again visit the projects in Nepal, evaluate the work done so far and decide about the further development.


6. Cooperations

Besides the cooperation with MAITI Nepal, pro filia entertains a cooperation with the SI Club Muenster-Mauritz, Rhenen/Veenendaal and with the Isle of Man SI Club. Collaboration with the Dutch and English SI clubs was limited to two years – 2015 and 2016 – but was prolonged by both of them as a matter of exception. During this time campaigns were performed the revenue of which of approx. 21,000 € were donated to pro filia – a great result for which we are thankful from all of our hearts. The money was mainly used to finance border guards’ salary and the establishment of typing offices. 

We are happy about the SI Club Muenster-Mauritz continuing to co-operate with pro filia without any time-limit. The collaboration is accompanied by co-operation meetings on a regular basis, three of them were held in 2017. 

7. Activities in 2017

Also in 2017 many campaigns were conducted targeting on raising awareness about the issue of human trafficking and to gain new members and donations for our projects:

7.1 pro filia actions in 2017:

  • Review of the project visit in Nepal of November 2016 at the Soroptimist Club Muenster-Mauritz on February 2, 2017

Visit at the SI Club Muenster-Mauritz
Visit at the SI Club Muenster-Mauritz

  • Presentation of pro filia at the Lions-Club Gross-Gerau.
  • During two Doppelkopf nights on March 3, 2017 and November 10, 2017 at the "Bunter Vogel", approx.  800 € were gained:

Doppelkopf nights

  • pro filia information booth at the Kreuzviertelfest on August 26./27., 2017: 


  • In 2014, pro filia had applied at the Münster public prosecutor’s office as non-profit organization entitled to receive imposed fines designated to be donated to charity. We were assigned 210 € in 2017.

  • Our application for tax authority revenues out of criminal tax proceedings were found to be eligible as well: we were assigned 2.500 € in 2017!

  • The fourth pro filia art auction took place on April 1 and 2, 2017 with 45 artists participating and 89 pieces of art being auctioned. Also this time, TV journalist Andrea Hansen acted as auctioneer selling off the pieces of art with great enthusiasm. We were thankful that also this time that the auction could be held in the wonderfully suitable rooms of Muenster technical college’s design department. 

The fourth pro filia art auctionThe fourth pro filia art auction
The fourth pro filia art auction

Presentation of the pieces of art ...

with coffee and cakes
... with coffee and cakes

and guitar music by Heribert Koch!
...and guitar music by Heribert Koch!

Andrea Hansen starts the auction at noon!
Andrea Hansen starts the auction at noon!

Andrea Hansen starts the auction at noon!
Andrea Hansen starts the auction at noon!
Andrea Hansen starts the auction at noon!

With the money donated at the art auction, pro filia will be in a position to finance the Pashupatinagar Transit home for an entire further year and thus offer about 400-500 saved girls the chance to lead a humane life. 

7.2 Campaigns for pro filia in 2017

  • The three SI-Clubs conducted a number of charity events in 2017 and donated a total of  5,000€ to pro filia.   
  • Numerous Boule tournaments organised by Konrad Averbeck yielded approximately 1,500 €:

Boule tournament on June 21, 2017 in the park near Muenster castle
Boule tournament on June 21, 2017 in the park near Muenster castle

  • The third Yoga-Summer, organised by Leben & Reisen: Yoga sessions were held between mid-June and mid-September near Muenster lake (Aasee) and were frequented by a lot of interested participants, sometime 50 – 60 per meeting, each donating approx. 5 €. These earnings were fully donated to pro filia – Ilona Tertilt and Dagmar Merforth could hand out approx. 2,000€! The yoga instructors rendered their time and services free of charge! Our heartfelt thanks to Leben & Reisen for their great contribution.

Yoga Summer 2017
Yoga Summer 2017
Yoga Summer 2017

  • Tina Reuther and Isabelle Feix earned more than 2,000 € by selling books and transferred this sum to  pro filia.
  • Ruth Spiekermann collected almost 1,500 € at her birthday party and donated this sum to pro filia via the SI Club Muenster Mauritz.

  • Jürgen Sager gave regular concerts at a retirement home together with two girls from Syria, Mirna and Natali. The revenue was donated to pro filia:

  • The three Muenster companies GSP, Gauby-Skusa and Herbe+Tessmer donated 1,000 € to pro filia:

  • Further donations were made for pro filia on various occasions such as birthdays, funerals, weddings, celebrations.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all supporters of the many activities and campaigns – to members, donors, sponsors, information desk personnel and bakers of cakes!

Many thanks also to Stefani Bültel who provides the English translation of the annual report and the pro filia website’s updates.

7.3 Campaigns already scheduled for 2018

  • Further presentations wherever possible   
  • Report about the project visit in Nepal at the charity breakfast of the SI Club Muenster Mauritz on March 3, 2018   
  • Information booth at the Kreuzviertelfest Muenster   
  • Two Doppelkopf nights   
  • WN-Christmas campaign 2018   
  • Visit of the pro filia projects in Nepal   
  • Event: 10 years pro filia!


8. Condition of the pro filia association by the end of 2017

8.1. Number of members

By the end of 2017, pro filia is counting 200 members! The forthcoming general meeting will be held on April 20, 2018 at 7 pm at Marientalstraße 78, Muenster.

8.2. Financials

The cash auditors Hajo Schoo and Dr. Werner Brüren reviewed and approved the 2016 annual report in 2017. The members ratified the executive board’s actions at the general meeting on May 5, 2017. Likewise, the Muenster tax authorities have re-issued a notice of exemption on May 23, 2017.

In 2017, pro filia transferred a total amount of 100,000 € to MAITI. More than 60,000 € were shifted into the year 2017, our next bank transfer to MAITI in April 2017 therefore safeguarded.
The expenditures of nearly 3,270 € (costs for programming, graphic design, computers and banking) were covered by contributions of the managing and executive board and sponsoring. In the first 8 years all necessary on-site project visits in Nepal were borne privately. In 2016 it was concluded by the executive board to support two representatives of executive board and management with a subsidy of 1,000 € for visiting projects – also funded by donations of the executive board! All funding and contributions beyond the executive board will still be forwarded to Nepal at 100%.

The detailed accounting report for 2017 – such as the reports from 2008 through 2016 – as well as all donations received exceeding 1,000 € can be found on our homepage under “voluntary commitment declaration”.

8.3. Executive Board

The pro filia executive board elected in 2016 has the following members: Ina Specht, Josef Humbert, Brigitte Wierling, Jan Sprünken, Bernd Brixius (treasurer) und Mechthild Spener (chairperson). The next election will be at the forthcoming general meeting on April 4, 2018, 7 pm at Marientalstraße 78, 48149 Muenster.

8.4. Perspective

Nepal is and remains an restless country – the social, political and geographic conditions are very burdensome. We are glad that despite all these difficulties we managed to keep many girls from being sold, to provide training opportunities and establish jobs for them. With an increased level of education and the chance to earn their own living, women and girls will more and more occupy the place in the Nepalese society that must be accorded to them and thus contribute to more stability.

We thank MAITI for keeping up their work on projects under the most adverse conditions and for doing everything to ensure safety and sustenance to the girls and young women in their care. Also in 2017, pro filia members, cooperation partners and numerous donors have enabled us to support this. Many thanks to all of you for your help, with all of our hearts!

February 2018
Dr. Johanne Feldkamp
CEO pro filia e.V.