To be born a daughter is a lost life
is an echoed proverb in Nepal, the poorest country in
southeast Asia . . . traveling there for ten short days, our New Community Project Learning Tour of fifteen mostly strangers encountered one of the deepest and pervasive injustices in our world female oppression and persecution. Learning alongside a grassroots organization, Women Empowerment, we stepped outside the tourist scene of the two largest cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara, and stepped into the rustic, rural villages of Godavari and Rithepani . . . where we were welcomed and worshiped guests; where we listened intently to the quivering stories of Monita, Prajani, Arati, Dipti, Gyany and little Ishma; where we gained strength from their strength; where we were challenged by our own ceaseless comforts and plentiful privileges; where language was transcended through smiles, laughter, and tears; and where we drank and danced their culture and customs - and empowerment. We became awakened to a land where 1 out of every 24 live births, the mother dies; where only 20% of the women are literate; where only 7% of the entire population achieves a high school education; where men eat first the meat, the veggies, the fruit and the women eat last whatever is leftover, mostly rice; where some women walk over 10 hours for clean water and 7 hours for medical care; where the government spends on average only $2.00/person for health coverage; where 13,000 people die each year of diarrhea; where the per capita income is $300; where 3 million children under age 15 are child workers; and where many girls by the age of 15 are arranged into marriage and a lifetime of servitude and even referred to as slaves by their husbands. In this land, women must worship their husbands as gods, never able to breathe or whisper the word no to them, instead they drink water from their husbands feet in order to be cleansed and purified. These husbands then leave their wives and children for other arranged marriages the women are left shamed in their culture, never to marry again, and stuck with no skills, no education, and no income. BUT THESE WOMEN PERSEVERE often through their husband s abandonment, they find themselves. Besides, they were doing all the work all along just never receiving the credit! Loading 50 pounds of firewood on their backs, hauling stacks of bricks and piles of dirt and carrying it all up and down mountain passes, these women show strength. Plowing and growing the fields, carrying buckets of water, preparing the meals, washing the clothes, cleaning the house, caring for the children, and managing the household, these women run the villages all without a voice. Instead, the men make the decisions. YET, slowly, these brave, bright, beautiful women are finding their voices and saying no to the injustice, to the shame, to the guilt. While their youth and education are lost, they can learn new skills, new trades and enter into a free market and eventually, hopefully, find economic and spiritual freedom. While seeking to empower themselves, they also seek to empower their daughters through education, providing them not a lost life, but a divine one . . . where each girl is given the freedom to respond to the highest power within her . . . becoming leaders and teachers, authors, advocates and artists, doctors, dentists, and diplomats, and even more than they dare dream . . . yet! AHH . . . we learned and became so much more . . . and we have so much more to share! Some of their last words were, Tell everyone about us! . . . and so it is here through our stories and laughter, pictures and memories, reflections and conversation that we share with one another and with you keeping their story alive . . .
.so the women make the product for much less than what it's sold in the public market. or ethnic group -. fabric painting in another. . . Of course. It is important to note that ALL women are invited into the WE program . they struggle to find the time to do this new work. nearly 40 women have been trained in hair design some who even own their own hair salon! Some of the struggle is that many women cannot break away from all the work to be done at home . ALSO. Like most businesses. For instance.in order to engage a 1 month or 2-3 month training course. and invite them to survey the leadership capabilities and women's interests. decorative pillows. For other women. WE coordinators refrain from making blanket decisions for all women in all places. WE goes right into the rural villages with a grassroots approach. another long-term desire for WE is to open a FAIR TRADE store . TIME and MONEY are issues here. selling the items then present yet another challenge. women will be asked to pay a small amount for their education (also demonstrating an even deeper investment).).for mutual support.but again due to expenses. paint the fabric. . SO. and instead. in the future. Meaning. and clearer communication . so that eventually WE can be more self-sustaining. perhaps even provide small interest loans. With all the household expectations." Again. women make beaded belts and necklaces . call out leaders within the village. in one village. women empowerment issues.
Once the products are produced. the village leaders work alongside the district coordinators (five districts in Nepal) to organize educational workshops (including reproductive health concern. This idea is still in the works . Here MONEY is an issue. In order to balance this challenge. currently WE provides full tuition for women who are able to engage in skills-training workshops. they must make the beads.though the focus is for women in the rural villages (and not as much the city limits). From there. more confidence. With a population of 27 million. where they can sell their own products at a fair price . TIME
is an issue.and begin producing income for WE. if necessary. as well as specific skills training. new ideas. and in Pokhara. their husbands forbid it. this gathering happens less than desired.
For the women who are able to get trained.What WE does
WE began with the initiative to provide skills-training for adult women in order to provide supplemental income for some and economic independence for others. So WE is only able to train as many women as they have financial support. age. WE also strives to gather as leaders on occasion . and a stronger voice. or sew the pillows in their "FREE TIME. Through this work. go directly to the villages. etc. . in another. mostly rural. the women discover personal empowerment. TIME is an issue.including child-rearing .probably in Pokhara (very touristy city!). it's not fair trade . the benefits of skillstraining and increased literacy.no matter caste.
so that the education just doesn't begin and end in the same year . WE has been able to imagine beginning to break the cycle by educating their GIRLS! As you can imagine. . lasting. with the recent.WE will provide multiple years of scholarships. . . most families cannot afford education and when they can. but NCP gives 100% of their donations directly to these partners . greater financial support of New Community Project . 8-10 girls will receive educational scholarships . including learning how to speak English (instantly provides add'l working possibilities) and how to use a computer. . committing to these girls' education is a long-term commitment.and NCP's commitment to girls' education. . the boys are chosen before the girls. . that's what makes these partnership unique and sacred. beginning THIS March. . THIS work is only HALF of what they are doing . . . HOLY relationships . the leaders hope to continue to invest in their own advanced education. Might you consider committing long-term to these girls and women? YES. . there are many people in need and many organizations to give. we travel to these lands to develop deeper.and we keep going back.
. . . .
Dare to take a Learning Tour yourself .
Dare to give something up in order to give to them .In addition. .
Dare to hope that 1 day we will stand in solidarity as a NEW COMMUNITY . SO.
just standing. sewing. I couldn't settle for "You can't help all of them. Then two. working. . even the rich are poor. Ahh. also obeying also oppressed everyone begging. . the wealthy. cooking. Then three. trance.here in the states. away in the military. the women. plowing. moving.they're nothing new . kicking balls. This time I looked right into their eyes . away from the villages. It never gets easier. haggling. the response never clearer. circling the temple. Rolling. Rolling. My water bottle gone. . the Maoists. in your own global travels -. the government.and I saw Jesus. Grabbed. selling. the women. struggling. tilling. . the police. Drink for their week. men playing cards and chess. but that's exactly what I did. circling life. the tears even heavier.
.y Elizabeth Keller
th. the beggars. Monkey Temple step after step to the Top. Yanked. spinning the prayer wheels.FB
One day in particular was VERY difficult for me. practicing karate. the women. the king. so don't help any of them" . the city View! all of the city: the poor. cleaning OBEYING. beggars. You've seen them -. three young children huddled and filthy. Rolling. Here are a few reflections from my journal in poetic design -Walking the Streets One boy. wheeling for peace. dizzy.
legs shaking. ACHING to ARRIVE. slipping. towards Buddha. too weak to even beg. trembling. instead. holding on. shaking. back to the streets to the daily struggle . looking upward. . looking down. step after step after step moving upward.. .alone. step after step after step going down. Buddha will come to him. . not able to even take one step up towards the temple ..sad
over a year ago · Report y
Lorraine Aubert Is it ok to give them food? Wonderful poem!
. scared. one man with one leg. dreaming upward. .
over a year ago · Report y
Casey Thompson great visual Ive not been yet but what a plight to endure.