Earlier this year, our wonderful partners, LitWorld and Global G.L.O.W. hosted the first ever Global HerStory Summit, bringing together over 50 young women and mentors from around the world and across the United States for story-sharing workshops and mentorship sessions in the heart of New York City. We at Rukmini Foundation were so excited and honored that six of our scholars and LitClub Nepal members were selected to take part in this wonderful experience. After they made this journey, we scheduled a session to meet with these girls so that they could share with us how they felt during this opportunity and the lessons they took away from this trip of a lifetime .
Manisha K.C (Mentor)-
It was an amazing experience to be part of the Global Glow Summit 2016 in New York. Everything was completely new for me. Going on this trip meant it was the first time I would be leaving my country to travel and I was thrilled. Furthermore, this was a wonderful opportunity for us to learn about so many new aspects of women empowerment, which I felt was very relevant for our work and community. The experience of meeting so many inspirational people all at once almost felt like I was swimming in an ocean after having lived in a desert – it was overwhelming but hugely gratifying. I felt like I was in a sea of knowledge and every little experience I had felt significant and life altering. It did not matter that we were from different parts of the world, with different cultures, different languages, different personalities; we shared our stories, our cultures, experiences of life, desires, hope and we became a family.
There were many wonderful activities that we took part in at the Global Summit. These activities helped us discover who we are, where we come from and what we hope to do in the future. During this time, I realized how important it was for us to truly know ourselves and understand what we stand for. Thank you Global GLOW Summit for helping us discover who we are. Each and every activity that we participated in helped us gain more confidence. I also learned words are not the only medium that helps us express ourselves; art, crafts and color also does magic in depicting our feelings. I am still singing the song “ I’m gonna live” by Trisha with the same energy and hope that we had in New York. Remembering all those days with my heart – I can say I lived each moment fruitfully.
I was truly motivated and empowered by each and every moment of HerStory Summit, starting from the day we got there when we knew few people and only smiled; till the very last day when we stood as strong ladies sharing our stories and experiences with ambassadors from all around the world. The stories about empowerment and struggles that I heard from the strong women had a deep impact on me. I still vividly remember Hader sharing her experiences about the work she had done towards protecting girls in the prostitution profession. I felt sad; despite her effort to give these girls other options for their livelihood, the girls still choose prostitution. Hader’s story taught me that it takes lot of time, patience, understanding and courage to bring about change. I am very thankful towards LitClub and Global G. L. O. W for giving such a wonderful opportunity to hear different stories of girls all around.
Another great experience I took from my trip to New York was the day we went to the UN women CSW Salvation stage. I had initially felt very nervous, but with all the experience at the summit, I was amazed at myself for being able to stand there as a strong girl. I was able to speak from my heart and share with everyone how I learned that girls are not weak and even if our society considered us weak, we know how to be strong.
Jonisha’s powerful words were captured in this beautiful LitWorld video:
Visiting New York was an exciting experience for me. I really enjoyed my time there. We learnt how to do many activities with a lot of creativeness. We also got a chance to meet and make new friends from different parts of the world. Everyone we met was friendly and very welcoming. I felt like I had a special bond with the girls from Columbia, I felt they were just like us! Although we did not have a common language to share our ideas and feeling, we used other means of communication. Sometimes we talked with sign language, and sometimes we got help from the translators. I felt that for a friendship to form, you need love and connection from heart, if you have that then not even a language barrier can stop you from becoming friends.
It was the first time I was away from my family for a week. I was worried that I would get homesick but when I reached New York, I was so surprised that every person I met, I felt they welcomed me like I was their own family member. I was happy to be the part of this new family where a lot of knowledge awaited me. During my time at the summit, I got a chance to think about what I want to do in my life, what are my responsibility is being part of this world, country, community, a family member, a woman and being myself. I learned to express myself through talking, sketching, drawing, playing with colors on papers, were all a lot of fun and also very interesting. The most important thing I gained in this trip was being able to make new friends from around the world and Global HerStory Summit gave me the wonderful opportunity to hear, share and know their stories.
Global HerStory Summit was a great platform for me and it helped me understand that girls are not weak and they need to participate and raise their voice for the world to listen to them. In addition to this, I had a wonderful time in New York, where I made so many friends from around the world and that made me feel so special. After coming back to Nepal, I have started sharing a lot of the thing I learned at the Summit with my friends and families here. The most important activity had the greatest impact on me was the “self reflection through the box” workshop – where we reflected on what it meant to be a girl and the struggles and endeavors one went through in their society and how they overcame the obstacle – this activity was very powerful as it really helped us to express how we saw our life. Thank You LitWorld, Global GLOW and Rukmini Foundation for making it possible for us to participate in this life changing event.
Rojina Bhandari :
Visiting New York, participating in Story summit, making new friends and sharing stories was a great experience for me. Sharing our stories through arts and craft, as well as with songs and games really inspired me. I learnt that not only writing, but even the creative methods c an help us express ourselves better. Being representative from Nepal, sharing our culture and LitClub practice was interesting and learning more about other culture and their practices also influenced me a lot. Overall story summit made me realize that women need to speak, even if we are considered weak, but if we participate and speak about our struggles and problems, then the world will definitely listen to us. Learning about the struggles of women presented in Story summit has made me more confident and courageous to share this message in my society through doing fun activities. I enjoyed the summit so much and I feel that after coming back from such great experience, it has brought changes in me and has made me a more stronger person.