HISTORY BEHIND RHEST

Our History

Dr. Aruna Uprety, RHEST’s founder, visited the brothels in Mumbai, India while attending a seminar on HIV/AIDS. She met a Nepalese girl who had recently given birth to a baby girl and was hospitalized because she had tested positive for HIV. It shattered her more when she later found out that the girl she visited had died. Many such stories from India's brothels affected Dr. Uprety. Dr. Uprety has visited many rural areas of Nepal. During those visits, she learned about women’s low socio-economic status. She met many women who believed that Pelvic Organ Prolapse was normal after childbirth. She was saddened by seeing the illiteracy of Nepalese women and noticed that girls in rural communities were at risk of suffering from domestic violence, early marriage, and human trafficking. The struggle of Nepalese women in Indian brothels and even within their own communities Nepal made Dr. Uprety realize she had to do something. So she established an organization to work for women and girls through education and health. Dr. Uprety,with help from her family, came to know about 25 marginalized girls from Syangja District in mid-western Nepal who were in a vulnerable situation. She began to provide education for these girls by enrolling them in school. They were supported with all the requirements for their schooling and she also started raising awareness about the girl's trafficking, violence against women, women's health issues, and the importance of women's education. During this journey, she met American Himalayan Foundation (AHF) and together, they expanded the work to 18 districts. To date, RHEST and AHF have been together in this journey.