Report by:Sabina Bisunke
Post by: Priti Bhattarai

 

It is the most anticipated event of the month for the girls in Pharping: Didi Program! The excitement of the day and what is to come is tangible as Rukmini scholars look forward to spending the day gaining new knowledge and meeting strong leaders. Rukmini Foundation has been conducting monthly Didi Programs with the intention of increasing our scholars’ skillset and their level of self-confidence by giving them an opportunity to interact with inspirational women leaders. We believe that by exposing our scholars to powerful role models, it will allow them to see a different future for themselves. A future where they are not shackled by what the society wants them to be but are free to be what they dream to be.

Didi Team with Didi Banner at Rukmini Floor

Our Rukmini Didis proudly stand together: (Left to Right)  Pramila Gajmer, Usha Adhikari, Puja Pudasaini, Sabina Bisunke and Sunia Sunar.

Our most recent Didi program was focused on strengthening our scholar’s leadership and presentation skills. Our Associate Didis, Susmita Sunar and Puja Pudasaini, who used to be Rukmini Scholars themselves, led the program. Having past scholars becoming mentors is a huge achievement for our work, as we were able to witness the transformation that took place in both Susmita and Puja. When they joined our program, they too had set limitations on themselves and what they could achieve. However, after being Rukmini scholars, both Susmita and Puja were able to ignite their passion and set higher expectations for themselves by pursuing further education and dreaming of a better future. They recently joined our team and have become advocates for girl’s education and are now empowering the younger girls by becoming terrific role models themselves.

Playing game

Junior Mentor: Sushmita Sunar happily plays Chinese Whisper with Rukmini Scholar.

This Didi Program was attended by 32 participants and started off with a song and a simple game of Chinese Whispers. Susmita and Puja wanted to start the day with a fun game, while also showing the girls the importance of communication. By playing Chinese Whispers, they were able to demonstration the challenges people often face when things aren’t properly expressed and how vital it is to go to the main source for correct information.

Didi Puja with Sabina, Sajani and Ranjana

Junior mentor: Puja Pudasaini leads one of the group activities with Rukmini scholars.

After the game, they split into little groups and did a reflection session on the group’s most recent visit to the Special School for Disabled and Rehabilitation Center (SSDRC).  The SSDRC was established by a very inspirational woman, Ms. Sabita Upreti, whose dream was to help students who are overlooked because of their disabilities. The reflection session allowed the girls to actually look back on the day and express how they felt during their interaction with Sabita. “When we interacted with Sabita Didi, we learned the meaning of respecting each and every person.” Rasmila Tamang said. “ I also learned that if we do hard work, then we will succeed in every step. We also felt that everyone should be truly responsible towards the duty and path we choose. And being students, we feel that our first priority is education.”

Sadikshya K.C and Tsultrim -doing group work

Girls concentrate on reflecting and writing their thoughts on their last visit to Special School for Disabled and Rehabilitation Center.

The visit also inspired the girls and taught them the true meaning of being resilient. “ Sabita di taught us to always see everything in life as an opportunity.” Nirupa Poudel said, “ She also taught us how important it is to be motivated and work towards a better future. I now know that I want to build a future where I am independent and self-reliant.”

Group Discussion

A group discussion is held by Puja Pudasaini (Center).

To see young girls in a Nepali community talk about becoming independent and self-reliant is a huge testament for the work Rukmini is doing to build a more just society. Through our Didi programs, girls not only learn about equality and education, but have the ability to see for themselves what being empowered means. At Rukmini Foundation, we believe our work is successful only when the girls we work with are able to envision themselves living a life where they get equal opportunity to fulfill their greatest potential. We are grateful for all the hard work and support we are receiving from our team in Nepal who is helping us fulfill our vision.

About Priti Bhattarai

With a Masters from London School of Economics in NGOs and Development, along with courses in Social Policy and Gender and Development, Priti brings with her the experience of both policy and development. She was born in Nepal, brought up in Japan, and has lived in England for eight years. Before moving to the United States, she went back to Nepal and worked on issues concerning Education for All and Gender Equality. Her work entailed creating awareness amongst the communities in rural Nepal on issues concerning both health and education, whilst striving for change in the country’s education policy. She recently moved to the Untied States and has become part of the Rukmini Foundation. With her previous experience working in Nepal, she has a great understanding of Rukmini Foundation’s mission and vision and will chair the Nepal Team Committee to work closely with our team on the ground to ensure progress, productivity and help forge new relationship with other entities in Nepal.

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