In 1999, after a business trip in India, Marian Noronha developed an overwhelming desire to help people in extreme poverty. He picked up a newspaper on a flight back to the United States and read an article on how the Tharu people of Nepal were being bought, sold and traded like livestock on the open market. Marian then developed a plan to buy these people out from slavery, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, and provide the means to rehabilitate these communities.
The slaves, or kamaiyas, were forced off their land and into borrowing money when malaria was eradicated in the lowlands in the 1960s and wealthier tribes moved into their areas. Once they took loans they became the property of the debt holders. With every harvest they fell further behind, unable to pay off their loans. Their owners also misrepresented their principal or interest. In addition, many kamaiyas inherited debt from their fathers, which was often passed down from multiple generations.
Within a few months, Marian and a small group of local followers of Jesus Christ bought seven families out from slavery and purchased land for them. The following year Marian returned and bought thirty-five families from their masters. Redeeming the Tharu families from slavery was the first step. Over the succeeding years livestock has been donated, water treatment facilities have been installed, schools have been built and a zip line used to cross a river during the monsoons. Grace Primary School has been in operation since 2008. It is already at full capacity and plans to build an addition are underway. Two more schools are being built in former slave villages.
There is evidence that this effort sparked the eradication of slavery by the government in July of 2000. It has also transformed many of the ex-slaves' way of life with new hope for their children. The film follows Sher Bahadur, Nathu Ram and a married couple Khushi Ram and Devi Hira as they experienced the perils of living as slaves and now as freed people.
COURTESY OF THE LONDON TELEGRAPH