Dunsmuir coffee shop fights human trafficking
RavenzCall Coffee Cache is known as a coffee shop with a mission. Sunday the Dunsmuir non-profit put its money where its mug is by raising more than $1,200 to help stem trafficking of Nepalese girls into the sex trade in India.
Owners Greg and Toni Noiseux hung a “Closed” sign on the front door, and two guests each presented a program to an invitation-only audience of 40, showing how monies collected go to the cause.
The key speaker was Gyan Pantha, a native of Nepal now living in Redding. Pantha is the founder and president of Children Rescue Mission, a non-profit described by its motto as dedicated to providing meals in Jesus’ name. He said it doesn't take much to support a girl in her home, to keep her safely with her family.
“One dollar will feed 20 kids a great, great meal of beans and rice,” he said. He asked members of his audience to consider signing up as a sponsor for $15 per month.
Also speaking was Glenn Rank, who introduced himself as a Christian investment advisor in Redding. “This is how it works,” he said. “People come to villages and find a family struggling to get by. They say, ‘We'll find work for your daughters. You won't have to support them anymore.’ They take the girls to a house of prostitution.”
Pantha said approximately 7,000 young girls are trafficked to Bombay this way each year.
Rank showed slides from a trip to Pantha's home village of Gorkha, a journey he decided to make after Pantha asked him to go. “Go to Nepal?,” exclaimed Rank. “My first answer was, 'No.' But God had a plan.”
Rank said they landed in Kathmandu about a year ago, after a long flight. “It takes two work days to get there,” he said. They drove on unpaved roads, sometimes skirting cliffs, to reach the remote village. “There are no traffic signals, no stop signs,” said Rank. “You drive on the left hand side of the road – most of the time.”
He said what hit him hardest was the disregard he saw for human life.
“Glenn risked his life to go to Nepal. Seriously,” said Pantha. “Besides the travel conditions, often times when you help, you find yourself in the middle of a fire. There is no law enforcement.”
He told of his niece taking in a woman she found crying in the street. The woman's husband had beaten her and thrown her out of the house. “It turned out this woman was the wife of a trafficker,” said Pantha. “I told my niece to pray for her and tell her go back to her husband.”
“We do not rescue adults,” he said. “We advertise support for children in a family.”
Pantha said 500 children roam the streets in Kathmandu in search of food every day. Children Rescue Mission currently relieves 74 kids of this need by serving 672 meals a month in their homes. “That is what we do,” said Pantha.
Later, Pantha said he started out seven years ago with five children chosen by a Christian pastor in Gorkha. Once word about this kind of help got out, “People came to us.” He said his organization requires an application process. “Are you poor? Are you desperate? We visit their homes,” he said.
Per their mission statement, they give preference to families with girls.
Pantha earned his BA in Business at the Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu in 1991. He said it was on this campus he found Christ and converted from his family's Hindu faith. In 1995, he traveled to Japan to help with flood victims. There he met his wife, an American with family in Redding. He emigrated to the US in 1999, and lived in the Bay Area 11 years before moving to Redding.
He said he makes fundraising appearances like Sunday’s about four times a year.
RavenzCall owner Toni Noiseux reported later that day that the raffle raised $345. Three prizes were awarded: a photo of the winner’s choice from the collection shot by Dr. Timothy Seidlitz, which is on permanent display in the shop; a “steak bag” of meat worth $70 donated by Thriftway Market; and a five-pound bag of coffee beans from Mount Shasta’s Northbound Coffee Roasters.
Toni said four new $15-per-month sponsors signed up, and the donation jar on the counter took in $945. Asked what she was going to do with the money, she said, “I'm going to write a check for $1,265 to Children Rescue Mission.”
Toni says her coffee shop is a front for a Christian faith based non-profit, stating, “All proceeds from our coffee and food go to combat human trafficking and to help survivors.”
Those wishing more information about Children Rescue Mission may visit www.childrenrescuemission.org, or call (530) 576-5551.