The 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign that takes place each year, and runs from November 25 to the 10th of December. LitClub Nepal organized an event this December by bringing members of LitClub Shikharapur and LitClub Seti Devi. The main objective of the event was to raise awareness about gender based violence through stories. We wanted to make the girls more confident in discussing a difficult topic like this because it is important that we do not remain silent about it.
Girls listening intently to mentors
At the start of the event, mentors explained more about what gender based violence is and provided some examples of violence as it comes in many forms. The mentors also urged the girls to raise their voices if they see any kind of physical, verbal, or sexual abuse happening within their family or community as the victim may not be able to do it for themselves. Even though talking about such things has been considered taboo, but due to organizations that are now working for the protection of abused girls and women, there is more support now in Nepal in addressing these topics. The mentors wanted to make sure the girls understand that it is not hopeless and that we can help girls and women that are being abused. But, we have to raise our voice.
Mentors Sabina, Devaki, Pramila , Prakriti, and Susmita lead the discussion and activities
With the words of encouragement from the mentors, and feeling more confident, the girls shared some of their own stories. Smriti Sherstha from LitClub Sikharapur shared a story about a girl who lives in her community who is a victim of domestic violence. She said she feels really bad to see that girl getting beaten by her father, especially after he drinks. She said that whenever she sees her hurt she feels vulnerable for not being able to help. Learning that we should raise our voice against violence, Smriti felt that she could speak about this with her family or teachers, and they might be able to help that girl.
Smriti sharing her story and making a bird to vow to speak out when she sees violence against girls and women
As a way to express the pain of the girls who are victims of violence, the girls made paper birds as a symbol of freedom from violence. The girls then described the bird they made and what it means to them. Sisham from LitClub Seti Devi said, “I made a bird and named it Orange Bird, because I want this bird to spread the message to all girls and women to dream big and to break all of the boundaries that society has created for girls and women. I am saying this because I feel that girls and women are victims of violence because of society’s rule that girls and women should be quiet even if she is in pain.
Sisham describes her “Orange Bird” and explains the powerful meaning behind it.
The event was very inspiring for all of us. Seeing girls express themselves about such a difficult topic and being confident and courageous to speak out against the abuse of girls and women was amazing. Thank you LitClub mentors: Sushmita and Devaki, Rukmini Didis: Pramila and Sabina, and Volunteer Sigaeki for organizing such an important program.