Nepalese counselor visits with Dr. Christopher Rybak and students

Chhori Laxmi Maharjan, left, a counselor from Kathmandu, Nepal, meets with Dr. Christoper Rybak, center, professor and chair of the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services and Counseling.

September 25, 2012

By Steven Johnson ‘13

Dr. Christoper Rybak, professor and chair of the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services and Counseling, recently completed a sabbatical where he met Chhori Laxmi Maharjan, a counselor from Kathmandu, Nepal, who has been working with fellow Bradley alumna Jonna Tyler MA '95 for the last year and a half.

Maharjan was able to visit the United States on a scholarship and was hosted by the Peoria-based Antioch Group, a Christian counseling and psychological group.

Dr. Rybak said Maharjan shared her work with his class on counseling diverse populations and spoke about her organization, Friends of Needy Children, that rescues, educate and counsel girls who have been sold into slavery and traumatized by the experience.

Friends of Needy Children is an organization that provides support to thousands of young girls who've suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The girls are rescued from slave and sex trades in Nepal and the organization has helped about 12,000 children who are typically sold by their parents to landlords for money.

“I am working as a senior counselor as well as program manager of Ankur Counseling Center which is a program of Friends of Needy Children,” Maharjan said. “It is able to make significant positive changes among many lives as well as the policy of Nepal government.”

Dr. Rybak was pleased that his students were able to meet, discuss and learn from Maharjan.

“Chhori’s visit to my Counseling Diverse Populations class offered my students the opportunity to hear of the very real and difficult circumstances related to indentured servitude experienced by young girls and their families in Nepal,” he said. “Just as significantly, students were able to learn of the multifaceted efforts that Chhori and her colleagues at Friends of Needy Children take to extract girls from servitude, provide counseling for the trauma, offer educational opportunities, and assist impoverished families in order to relieve the conditions that contribute to indentured servitude. This is social justice in action.”

Maharjan was also grateful for the opportunity to visit Bradley and praised Dr. Rybak and his students. Some students even offered to help fundraise for Maharjan’s organization.

“The students seemed very excited and seemed touched by the work we are doing for the child and youths of Nepal,” said Maharjan. “I felt the positive energy from each with whom I met during my visit at Bradley. I am sure that this will help me to serve the needy children and youths of Nepal more and more.”