This quarter’s newsletter is coming to you from sunny Nepal! Tamara and I, Her International’s Co-Executive Directors, are currently in the district of Dang to meet with our staff and the participants from our scholarship program and microcredit groups.
While here, we have also met with local government officials to discuss upcoming plans and changes to the education system, connected with awareness and education activators, and surveyed sites for future classroom built projects.
In Kathmandu we have been meeting with various United Nations and global aid agencies, along with other like-minded individuals and NGOs.
Kate & Tamara
MOTHER SPOTLIGHT: JIRAKNI CHAUDHARY
“If it wasn’t for Creating Possibilities (Her International's Nepali partner), my sons would be dead today.”
Both Jirakni Chaudhary’s sons, 24 & 17 years old, were diagnosed with sickle cell anemia in 2015 when the first team of medical students from the University of British Columbia launched their campaign. They were screened for the disease at Unako House, and subsequently diagnosed. Because of the program, her sons now have free access to medication, which they need to take regularly, and are doing well. However, some months the medications don’t come, and their health deteriorates. They also have to make frequent visits to the hospital, the closest of which is in Nepalgunj, a far distance from their home. Transportation for the 3-hour drive to the hospital is costly, and means the family is unable to save up money. When her sons were unwell, Jirakni and her husband had to find work outside, while her sons recovered at home. Fortunately, now her sons are now well enough to work, and make a living driving a tractor trailer. As a mother, she worries about them because they have been unable to obtain a license, and it could be very dangerous if they were to get into an accident. The young men have tried repeatedly, but haven’t been granted one yet.
We’ve just returned from the morning Mothers Microcredit group meeting. Jirakni squats on the dirt floor of her home, peeling onions. For three years, she was a bonded-labourer, working in someone else’s house, doing household chores in addition to taking care of their children and farm animals. She then took up other labour work once she left, working in various households, and continues to do so during the day. By joining the microcredit program, and taking a loan, she began pig farming. With the money earned from selling the pigs, she bought two buffalo. Today, she paid back the loan of 15,000 NPR, with help from her sons’ income. Her husband is currently down by the river, taking care of the buffalo.
Once we leave, Jirakni will go get hay to thatch the roof of the hut where the buffalo sleep, and take care of her other household chores. She recognizes that if it weren’t for our programs, her life would be extremely difficult, and she never wants to leave the group.
In the future, she hopes there will be an increased amount of money available for lending. There is a rising demand for loans, and running businesses is becoming more expensive. With more money, the women could start up larger income generating businesses and become more independent.
(About the author:
Neha is currently a first year medical student at Michigan State University, and is completing a masters in Global Health from McMaster. She has recently spent time in rural Nepal, speaking with local women and girls who are empowered through access to equal education; and in India studying the role of Ayurvedic medicine in healthcare. She has an eye for adventure and is full of compassion. Her passion lies in working for the international community, she hopes to take her learnt practice and knowledge to places in need. Her hobbies include reading menus, learning new languages and traveling.)
**Special Note** The 2018 UBC Sickle Cell Team landed in Dang on April 29th and will be in Nepal for several weeks to deliver greater sickle cell disease awareness and training for local health professionals.
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: SANJITA CHAUDHARY
Her International has supported Sanjita for nine years. Her family situation is very difficult. They have a small mud house and no land to grow food. She is an ex-bonded girl (kamlari) and her father died when she was young.
Her family has no property so her mother is working in Qatar. Sanjita has taken on the role of caretaker for her small sister. She is a good student despite having to miss school a lot. Our staff in Dang visit and counsel her regularly in her home.
Sanjita is a shining example of how important our programs are. Without our support she would not have an opportunity to obtain an education.
From Sanjita,"I love to listen to the radio in my spare time. I intend to pass my SLC (school leaving certificate) examinations. Thank you."
The Maghi Festival is the biggest festival of the Tharu people, marking the new year. Previously, it was when contracts for bonded labourers were made. The Tharu people, along with our partner NGO Creating Possibilities, has embraced this day as one that now celebrates their freedom and education.
This year 621 members participated in the Maghi program. The women members participated in the following four competitions:
1. Speech on importance of Education to the girls
From different mother's groups, 27 members partook at this speech competition. We are doing such competition every year at Maghi because these mothers / members never get a chance to speak in front of people.
2. Community Building Games
In addition to the speech competition, various friendly competition games are held where women compete for household items. This teaches them the importance of team work and gives them self confidence.
3. Bicycle Allocation
Forty-three bicycles were given to students to get them to and from school more quickly and safely, leaving more time for homework and their studies.
4. Allocation of Mother's Group Incentives
Every year, the new Mother's Groups (which have been formed for one year) gets Rs. 10,000 ($100USD) as an incentive and so that they have more money for their microlending. There are always more demands than the saving amount and this year we gave incentives to four Mother's Groups.
HOPE in Her eyes
H.O.P.E. In Her Eyes took place on February 9th, 2017 at the Laurel Packinghouse. We teamed up with H.O.P.E. Outreach to bring to draw parallels and create compassionate awareness of the trials and tribulations of being a marginalized woman, both locally and globally.
Two hundred and twenty attendees, and thirty volunteers, showed up for an evening of networking, delicious Nepalese food and an art auction featuring local artists work who depicted their own interpretations of women’s struggles through the part of the soul that we can see: their eyes.
This event was sponsored by KelownaNow and raised over $17,000 to support women in the Okanagan and in Nepal. See below for a recap of the night.
#hertimetothrive - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
For International Women's Day on March 8th, Her International coordinated a series of local and global empowerment pop ups. Events were held in:
1. Kelowna, BC, Canada: Community women's advocacy event at Stuart Park
2. Boise, ID, USA: Outreach event at women's shelter and dicussion on women's menstrual health.
3. College Station, TX, USA (Texus A&M University): WomanStats project and its impact on the world
4. Kathmandu, Nepal: Youth essay contest on "Women's equality: Press for Change"
5. Kathmandu, Nepal (Kathmandu University): Lecture on Tharu women
6. Gadhawa, Nepal: HeforShe march
7. Lokarpur, Nepal: Women's Entrepreneurship - Sharing Success
8. Chandanpur, Nepal: Women working in uncommon fields
9. Podgorica, Montenegro: Lecture on mindfulness
10. Ulanbaatar, Mongolia: Panel discussion on women's health and nutrition
11. Hong Kong: Workshop on women finding their power
12. Shenyang, China: Panel discussion on women's work/life balance
The worldwide events resulted in Her International raising $10,000 to fund the education of 30 girls. Thank you for your contributions!
In January we launched our Her Ambassadors program.
“Her Ambassadors” are a group of passionate people who have committed to be advocates and activators for our organization. They work closely with our organization to develop their own fundraising initiatives, to sell Unako products, or to raise awareness for our cause. Ambassadors are featured on our website and awarded “Her Ambassador” badges for their websites and business cards.
See the following for what two of our amazing ambassadors have done this quarter. If you'd like to become an ambassador, click here.
In January, one of our supporters, Kendra McFarland, started the #LakeDipChallenge for Women Empowerment.
"The #LakeDipChallenge is a movement created to encourage and help each other feel empowered to push past our limiting comfort zones by dipping or jumping into the nearest body of cold water! Coming together to dip makes us closer to living glowing, vibrant, limitless lives through empowering people who need it the most - marginalized women and girls. Her International is the charity we have chosen and trust to help utilize your donations to their fullest capacity."
You can read more and take part here!
For Hugh Culver's 60th birthday he chose to make a huge impact by launching a campaign to raise money to build classrooms in the region of Dang, Nepal. You can read about this exciting adventure over on his website here.
SCARF BLOW OUT! May 12, 2018
For Mother's Day, we will be a vendor at Intrigue Wines in Lake Country. Come and shop our $5 and $10 scarves, along with our jewellery, made by mothers in Nepal.
2291 Goldie Road
WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY May 12, 2018
Globally Fair carries all fair trade goods. Join us for a henna pop-up and shop for a cause! You can also purchase great Mother's Day gifts here.
1295 Burtch Road
Thank you for being along for this journey and blessings to all!
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