Rukmini Foundation Celebrates 5th Anniversary and Stand Up for Girls
Earlier this month we celebrated 3 programs that are very important to everyone at Rukmini Foundation. We honored the UN International Day of the Girl, we participated in #StandUp4Girls, and we also celebrated Rukmini Foundation’s 5th birthday in Nepal. Normally we celebrated these programs close to October 11, which is the official date of International Day of the Girl and also Rukmini Foundation’s anniversary. However, this year the Dashain holidays were going on at that time so we decided to hold these events a little earlier so that all of the scholars could participate.
The students started to gather at Shikharapur Community School’s new building premises by 11.00 am. The day was packed with many celebrations, and the highlights were a cultural program conducted by the scholars, inspirational stories from past mentors and scholars, StandUp4Girls activities, and most importantly…cake cutting.
One of the things that the foundation mentors and leaders are most proud about these events is that they are mostly led by the scholars themselves. They give the speeches, they conduct the cultural programs, and they lead the way. It is empowerment at its best. A great example of an empowered scholar is Rabina. She was one of the first 10 scholars of Rukmini Foundation from 5 years ago. Since then she has not only graduated from high school, but she has also completed what is known as 10+2 in Nepal. Not only that, she was also the first Rukmini Scholar to be selected for a leadership development program called Women LEAD Nepal. She has come a long way, and she shared stories with the new scholars about her time as a Rukmini Scholar and the opportunities she has been able to take advantage of. Her advice to the current scholars was to take every advantage of the different programs offered by the foundation.
We were also fortunate to have one of our first Didis (mentor), Rasmita join us for this special program. Even though Rasmita has since moved on to pursue her own educational dreams, she wanted to come back to share about her experiences as a mentor with the scholars and other guests. Even though she was helping to guide the young scholars, she also talked about how much she learned through her role with the foundation. She expressed how proud she felt to be part of it and also encouraged all the current and past scholars to get as involved with foundation activities as possible.
Along with the inspirational speeches, we had a very lively musical program where scholars and LitClub Members sang and danced. Scholar, Sabina Rumba sang two songs that were composed by her Music teacher as well as the theme song for Shikharapur School, written by our Scholar Selection Committee Chair, Mr. Kedar Nath Acharya. The entire crowd loved it and wanted to hear her sing once more. It is amazing to see a young girl perform in front of a group of her peers and elders with no fear. This is yet another example of empowerment in action.
Not to be outdone, two girls from LitClub Shikharapur also sang a wonderful song. We were so happy that the LitClub members could be a part of this celebration with our scholars.
The music and dance program also included two Scholars from our partner school, Arunodaya, Manisha Tamang and Rabina Bisunke performed a cultural dance with a traditional Nepali Song. We are so proud of these talented girls.
With all of the speeches, singing, and dancing, everyone was hungry and excited for the 5th anniversary cake. We presented the group with 2 specially designed cakes, and everyone was excited to enjoy it together. Before we cut the cake, we had a small ceremony where our youngest scholar, Ranjana Karki lit an oil lamp diya to commemorate this wonderful milestone for the foundation.
After that small ceremony, the honor of cutting the cake belonged to Scholar, Smriti Balami, one of the scholars studying in Setidevi School, Talku. She got that honor for being the first to make it to the event. We wanted to reward her punctuality and also teach the lesson that the first step in achieving anything in life is to show up.
This event was colorful not just because of the music, dance, and the beautifully decorated cake. As part of this anniverrsary, and as a gift for the Dashain holidays, we handed out a Rukmini Foundation 5th Anniversary T-Shirt to all of the scholars, Didis, and other special guests. Everyone was looking happy and bright in their new t-shirt.
Last, but not least, as part of this celebration, we also took part in #StandUp4Girls, an event that is celebrated every year with our friends LitWorld. LitClub Nepal members got together to write down their stories about their daily lives and shared with others. They also wrote about what they will stand up for. Once completed, we made our way to an open field on the top of a hill nearby and gathered in a big circle to share these stories. Our Didi and LitClub Liaison, Prakriti will have a more detailed report of the #StandUp4Girls activities in another post.
We could not have celebrated this big milestone in any better way. From the inspirational words of Rabina and Rasmita to the beautiful songs of Sabina and others and the girls enjoying their t-shirts and cake, it was a truly memorable day. To be able to finish the day with another great #StandUp4Girls program was just the icing on a delicious cake.
We would like to thank all of our supporters throughout the world who have made it possible for us to celebrate a day like this. We would also like to thank our team in Nepal, US and everywhere else who work so hard to make sure these girls have everything we can provide to empower them through education. We saw many examples of empowerment in this event, and we have seen much more throughout the last five years. We are going to keep working hard and are looking forward to many more years ahead.