Report by Prakriti Nepal

The room was bursting with energy and filled with laughter; you could sense the excitement with 70 girls coming together to mark Stand up for Girls in solidarity. Every year LitClub Nepal has been celebrating #StandupforGirls during International day of the Girl with the hope of honoring girl’s strength, their resilience, and raising awareness on the challenges a girl faces in the global world.  This year was no exception; as six LitClub members, Rukmini Scholars and community girls took a stand for girls’ right to happiness, education, health and life.

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Girls excitedly work together as they tell stories about their daily life in forms of words and pictures.

The day started off with vibrant storytelling. Each of the girls were given 3 pieces of paper to share their daily occurrences, neatly divided into morning, day and night. The girls got the opportunity to look inside their heart and reflect on what brings meaning to their daily life and what inspires them to fulfill their dreams. Once the girls started working, creative juices started spilling and the papers began to fill up with colorful anecdotes and illustrations that brought life to their daily activities. As they started sharing, the girls got a glimpse of each other’s life and learned more about one another and saw what brought beauty to their daily existence. “My morning starts, early as I wake up to help my mother in the kitchen to make breakfast,” Sarina, LitCLub Shikarapur Member explained. “And no matter how my day goes, I always end it with my books  – whether it is finishing up homework or reading my favorite story.” Sarina also shared her deep gratitude to her mother whose dedication towards her education, despite the financial struggles, has allowed her to be both inspired and get a better understanding of herself.

I want to stand up for the girls in our community to have access to doctors, medicine, and nutritious food

After storytelling, the day transitioned into the girls finding a word that most resonated with them. A word they wanted to stand up for. A world they wanted to defend. A word that they felt is every girl’s right. This activity was very powerful, as it allowed everyone to reflect on what they feel brings most value to their lives and their community. Some of the common words that was heard was ‘Education’, ‘Power’, ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Health’. LitClub member Samridhi passionately explained that she would like to stand up health, as every girl deserves good health. “In my community, there is still the culture of girls being taken to the local healer when they are ill instead of a medical doctor,” Samridhi said, “ Sometimes instead of getting better, situation worsens and some girls end up losing their life. I want to stand up for the girls in our community to have access to doctors, medicine, and nutritious food.”  Similarly, Sampada from LitClub Niharika also expressed the need for better health education for girls. “ We still live in a society where menstruation is looked upon as a sin and a punishment,” Sampada said. “ During a time where girls should be taken care of, they are treated badly and we need to educate people about menstrual cycle.”

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LitClub Mentor Prakriti Nepal (center)  facilitates the conversation about standing up for what we believe in

The day ended with a spirited play enacted by LitClub Mentors Bandana and Supriya, where they did a role play of a controlling husband who restricts his wife and doesn’t give her the freedom to make her own decisions. The purpose of the performance was to allow the girls to get a glimpse of a women’s position in the current society and start a conversation on how to empower one another to break away from these discriminatory situations.  The mentors led a guided discussion on the outcome of the plays, where they let the girls express their opinions on how they felt seeing a woman being suppressed and unable to live a life she wants to lead.  “Women should not be seen as being capable of only doing laundry, cooking and cleaning…There is so much more that we can do if are given the opportunity,” said Sadavi Adhikari. .

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Rukmini Scholars stand up for girls health, education, and safe environment

LitClub members, Rukmini scholars and the girls of Pharping community stood in solidarity for women empowerment, gender equality, girls education, health services for women, freedom and against the dowry system. Many also stood up and recognized other women who have inspired and ignited the fire in them – Malala, Florence Nightingale, Pasang Lamu Sherpa and Pushpa Basnet. It was a proud day for girls everywhere in the world as they stood together and demanded to be seen and heard.

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Rukmini scholars stand up for girls in their community in the hope for a better and brighter future.

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