Supriya Adhikari (LitClub Durghabhawani)&
Anjana Giri (LitClub Niharika)
Along with our 6 Year Anniversary Celebration, we also recently celebrated International Day of the Girl, which we commemorate by conducting Stand Up For Girls program in collaboration with our friends LitWorld. This program was conducted at Sankha Park, Chappalkarkhana by LitClub, Nepal. In the program, girls from various LitClubs, such as: Durgabhawani, Greenland, Bhaktapur and Niharika took part to share their story and stand up for women.
The park was a beautiful setting for this program, and we were so happy to have girls from different LitClubs take part. LitClub Mentor, Bandana introduced the program and inspired everyone.
The program started with a fun song “hello lady” which made both mentors and members greet each other while singing and dancing. After the introductory session, LitClub mentor, Bandana Adhikary gave a short introduction about the program. She said, “It is very important to stand up for girls as they are discriminated against the most in our society. Girls education is significant to make a change in our community and in the world.” She then cited some statistics, such as: 12 years of education for every girl would result in a 64% drop in child marriage, 59% drop in early births and 49% drop in child deaths.”
Girls sharing and discussing with each other about the women in their communities.
The girls were asked to share stories of women in their communities, and Sampada’s story of her aunt moved us all. “My aunt got married young despite wanting to study further. Fortunately, her husband was supportive enough to give her a chance in education. While studying, she got a scholarship in Teaching hospital and studied MBBS. Now, she is a renowned doctor in the country.”
While sharing about her community role model, Mandira of Litclub Bhaktapur said, “In my community, there is a didi who is a widow and was abused by her in-laws. With the help of a women’s club, she filed a court case against her in-laws and won her share of property.” It showed that girls and women have to be able to fight for their rights, and we need to support them.
LitClub members act out a drama before the discussions.
LitClub Durgabhawani performed a drama about discrimination and violence against women. The drama reflected the life of many Nepalese women as housewives where they are treated as servants for their husbands and in-laws. After the drama, the girls were asked questions about their understanding of the drama. We had a great discussion about these issues, and the mentors provided some advice on how to deal with such situations. The girls actively took part and shared their opinions as well, so it was a great activity. Barsa, from LitClub Niharika said it is important to talk with those who are harming girls and women because words can be powerful to shape or change people’s perspective.”
Girls writing down what makes them feel strong.
After that, the girls shared about what made them feel strong. “My strength is friendship. I feel strong when I have support from my friends while studying, playing and doing other activities.” said Pema from Litclub Durgabhawani. Sampada from Litclub Greenland shared, “Being strong for me is being kind. If you are nice and kind to people, no matter what the situation, you can achieve a lot in life.”
In the program each girl was given metacards to write down what they stand for. “It is important to give women a chance to speak. In most of the households, women are not the ones that have a say in decision making. This needs to be changed. Women need more participation in not only their household matters but in overall community and ultimately the country.” said Sajina Satyal mentor of Litclub Greenland.
The girls reflected on the biggest issues faced by girls and women in their communities.
Many girls stood up for different topics such as feminism, women empowerment, gender equality, girls education, health services for women, freedom; while some stood up against topics such as dowry, women violence, unequal wage, sexual harassment, rape, discrimination, etc. The girls reflected on both the strengths and problems of their communities. As the strength of the community, most of them said that the people of their communities are friendly and helpful. While talking about the problems, the girls said that illiteracy of women, gender based discrimination and women violence were the major problems faced by women in their communities. Then, the girls were asked to think about the solution of the problem and take a pledge about their role in the solution.
Each of the participants made a promise to take action for girls and women. These actions could be as simple as raising awareness or something like making libraries at the local level more accessible for women. The mentors were inspired by the ideas we heard from the girls.
Group photo from this wonderful program.
After that we sang the “Power Song” and had snacks. And finally sang “Goodbye Song” and ended the program. The event made everyone realize how strong we are as a team, and how much we can contribute to the society with our thoughts and actions. It was another inspiring Stand Up for Girls program. Thank you LitWorld, Global GLOW and Rukmini Foundation for standing up for us.
Program Coordinator, LitClub Nepal
Director of Didi Program, Rukmini Foundation