Relentless Pursuit | Ramesh's Story
Ramesh recalls a happy and privileged childhood. Born into a high-caste Nepali family, his grandfather was a Hindu priest, and his father was the only man who received a college education. His father became his schoolteacher and hoped his son would become a doctor one day. Although his father was a devout Hindu, education taught him the importance of bringing modern medicine to his people, and he helped a group of Christian missionaries establish a hospital.
Ramesh found his happy world turned upside down when, at the age of ten, his mother ran off and had an affair with the family servant. This caused Ramesh to question his mother’s love for him.
“If she really loved me, why did she abandon me?”
The pain only worsened when the village children came up with a song to shame and taunt his family.
At age 13, Ramesh became extremely ill and was taken to the Christian Mission Hospital his father helped start. There, he met a nurse named Helen, who first introduced him to the Gospel message. The person of Jesus appealed to him. Helen said that Jesus not only died for him but said he would never leave or forsake him.
“I remember the first time nurse Helen hugged me. She just held me. I thought, no one has ever touched me like this before.”
While staying at the mission hospital, he heard that his mother was working at a different hospital in Katmandu. He decided to run away from home and find her.
Ramesh eventually made his way to his mother’s home and discovered that she had surrendered her life to the Lord. She asked for his forgiveness for leaving him. He lived with her and worked at the mission hospital. During that time, he witnessed the Gospel in a tangible way through his mother’s life and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
“The gospel cannot just be spoken; it has to be demonstrated in the life of a person,” Ramesh says.
Years passed, and one day, Ramesh’s mother was asked to care for a patient in her home. The woman was near death, and no one would dare touch her. It turns out she was the first HIV-positive patient in Nepal. By the time they got her to their home, all the neighbors knew and ostracized them out of fear they could catch the disease.
The woman they cared for learned to trust them and, over time, shared her tragic story. She had been trafficked from Nepal to Mumbai, India, and forced to work in a brothel house. She eventually became so weak that her traffickers abandoned her. It was only then that she learned she was HIV positive. Although her life to that point seemed hopeless, she was grateful to hear about God’s love for her and experience that love through her caretakers. Ramesh remembers her last day on this earth—she began asking for Pinky.
“Who is Pinky?” We asked her. Pinky was the name of the daughter she had given birth to in India who was taken from her. “Please, find Pinky! You must find her.” She begged with her last breath.
Ramesh and his mother promised to look for her.
Ever true to his word, in 1996, Ramesh went to Mumbai and worked with the local police to conduct the first raid on a brothel. They rescued 120 Nepali girls and brought them back to Nepal. Fifteen of the girls lived in Ramesh’s family home, and 10 of them were HIV positive.
After Ramesh married, he and his wife committed to becoming mother and father to any “daughters” they would rescue. He also began praying for a vision from the Lord as to how he could intercept as many girls as possible before they were trafficked.
“God gave me the idea of border stations on the Nepal/India border that would intercept the girls on their way to India. I asked the Lord, who will run these stations? Immediately, I knew the answer, the very daughters we would rescue would run them.”
In 2009, Ramesh founded Our Daughters International. ODI exists to bring an end to human trafficking and to bring the daughters into safety. This holistic approach enables rescued victims of trafficking to be restored as daughters and developed as leaders impacting their communities for today and tomorrow. The organization has grown over the years to include 12 border stations, 140 staff, two safe houses able to house 100 girls, a training facility where each daughter learns a specialized skill, and 70 micro businesses started by the daughters in their communities.
Around 2,000 girls are rescued each year. If possible, the girls are reunited with their families and returned home. For those who cannot return home due to shame, or if their family sold them to the traffickers, they are taken to a safe house to become a daughter.
Nisha is one of those daughters. She was 14 when she met a woman who enticed her with lies about finding work in India. Nisha willingly went to India to escape her life of poverty, thinking she had found the solution to her problems. Like many girls, she was deceived by this female trafficker and found herself forced to work in a brothel in India. Our Daughters International eventually rescued Nisha and began the long process of healing. At first, she had difficulty accepting her new life, running away from the safe home. But, after finding herself in another compromising situation, she called Ramesh and told him she was all in. She gave her life to Jesus and now works as the in-country director of the ODI daughters. She is still only in her mid-20s.
Ramesh remembers a time when he cried out to the Lord, asking how the cycle of human trafficking would end. God answered him.
“Seek first my Kingdom. Look at my daughters, they will be my change agents. They are my evangelists, teachers, and border agents. They are my beautiful daughters who will do my kingdom work. Social change will come. Just demonstrate my loving nature to them!”
Without the Gospel, human trafficking will never end. Only the church has the power to see it brought to an end. When asked if he ever found Pinky, Ramesh responds, “Each daughter we rescue is Pinky.”