By Laura Sheahen,
“When I got home, my family saw my condition and cried.”
Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. More than a year later, she came back covered with bruises.
She’d worked long hours in a private Saudi home, getting about four hours of sleep each night as she struggled to keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. The family she worked for rarely paid her, and when she asked for her salary, they sent her back to the employment agents in Riyadh.
She can’t say exactly what happened next. She remembers fighting back when they tried to strip her, and ripping one of the agent’s shirts. When she arrived at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, she was black and blue. “I was crying bitterly. People surrounded me,” she says.
A woman at the airport asked if she needed help. Though afraid the woman might exploit her as well, Damber Kumari went with her. It turned out that the woman worked for Porukhi, an organisation that helps migrant women. Learning that the girl was from an area of eastern Nepal called Damak, Porukhi called Caritas.