Journey of empowerment
In Banke District, Nepal, women’s lives remain centered on their traditional roles, taking care of most household chores, fetching water and animal fodder and doing farm work. Their standing in society is mostly contingent on their husbands' and parents' social and economic positions. They have limited access to markets, productive services, education, health care, and local government, especially in the Muslim community. Women are also suffering from domestic violence, wrong traditional and cultural malpractices. Child marriage, sexual violence and sexual harassment are still very common. Moreover, women are mostly not aware of their rights.
Sita Devi Kumhar says: “I and husband we both are illiterate but we wanted to send our children to school. My husband works as a peon ina post office which does not provide enough income to meet the needs of our family. I was just confined within my house and busy with chores. Being illiterate and poor left me with very few income-generating opportunities. I was even scared to talk in front of people”.
ActionAid has been conducting ReFLECT circle in the community to empower the women and also to run awareness campaigns. ReFLECT circle is the forum where women discuss the various issues of their communities like domestic violence, food security, good governance, women training, child rights, women’s rights and public services. Nowadays, there are 30 Reflect circles with 710 members and 25 Women’s Rights Forums with altogether 585 members throughout the Banke District.
“Now I am a member of the Reflect circle and I am so glad that this year our women’s group succeeded to claim 40000 rupees (310 €). With that budget, we conducted goat-raising training for 25 women. This will help us to generate income in the future. The goat I had received had already given birth. I am taking good care of the goat and the kid.
My husband and children are happy with what I have achieved. Even my community people appreciate my work and this motivates me. Thank you, ActionAid for enhancing my leadership skills and capacity building”.
Bimala Gupta explains: “As a member of Reflect, Sita Devi Kumhar is always ready to help other women of her community. She is now leading the Reflect circle of her community as a chairperson and in her leadership, she succeeded to claim the budget allocated for women empowerment. It feels great to see such changes in her.”