Learning about the Adhikari Gaun Women’s Group on International Women’s Day

10th March 2017

A few days after arriving in Adhikari Gaun, our rural village home for the next three weeks, as the rest of the world was celebrating International Women’s Day, we visited Mira Pariyar, a smiley mother of three, and a beneficiary of one of the houses we are currently building.

Mira, Women's Group, Adhikari Gaun

We sat with her on her veranda while her 19 year old daughter, Susma, stood shyly behind her. Judging by her cheerful demeanor, we assumed that our rather serious questions on women’s issues would fall slightly flat. However, we were inspired by her story to talk to other women in the village about their lives.

At first we spoke to her 19 year old daughter, Susma, who is currently studying in her last few years at a local school. We asked about her hopes for the future with an intent to compare her response to what her mother’s might have been some 20 years ago. Susma hopes to pursue a degree in the arts, whereas the options for Mira – uneducated at 19 – were narrow.

Mira has high hopes for her daughter. When we asked her what she wanted for Susma in the future, she gave us a detailed description of an ideal society without suppression or violence towards women. She explained that when she got married no one tackled issues such as domestic violence and discrimination, both of which she has experienced herself.

However, she informed us that these issues are finally disappearing in her village due to improvements in education. Six years ago a local women’s group was set up by prominent community member, Narmaya, who Mira describes as an inspiration to her and many others. (See Health and welbeing in Adhikari Gaun blog from last summer’s first Raleigh Nepal Expedition).

It was in no small part due to Narmaya’s long-standing reputation as a campaigner on community issues that the group was able to obtain 3 lakh from the government, which it used to stock up on resources such as rice and also to invest in goats to sell at market, sharing the profit amongst the 24 group members. The last third was used as capital for low cost loans for group members facing hardship.

Women's Group Adhikari Gaun
Some of the women from the group

Narmaya is proud that the group allows women to support each other through discussion and action on issues such as health, education, domestic violence and discrimination. This collective approach has brought a real sense of empowerment to the women of Adhikari Gaun and is a big part of what makes Mira hopeful for her daughter’s future that she won’t experience the same issues as she has.

What’s next?
12/13 March – Holi festival of colour
26 March – end of Phase 2 changeover
28 March – deploy to Phase 3: community

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Photos: Bruno Wolf Oliveira, Lisa, Tim
Words: Daisy, Holly and Jade
Translation: Dipesh

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