Once upon a time, people traveled in community groups, sharing their stories and learning from other communities as they traveled. Today, our thoughts, ideas, and stories can go around the world with the push of a button. We are able to travel long distances with ease and take with us our stories to share with the whole world, the global village. The way our ideas and stories can now travel across the globe has changed the way the world grows as one global community. This also holds true for works of community development being done across the globe. Lit World is an example of one such global community that is empowering girls and teaching them leadership around the world through reading and writing of literature; made possible and efficient by modern communication and technology.

LitClub Lit-Camp members: Mentors and Leaders of tomorrow

For one such global experience, Rukmini Foundation took an opportunity to travel to New York to participate in Her Story Campaign NGO CSW. Organised by GLobal G.LO.W alongside LitWorld, Her Story Campaign provided a platform to share the experience of women in rural communities including their struggle and success as they worked towards making their communities a better place. On behalf of Rukmini Foundation, me (Prakrit), Ms Laxmi Aaryal (Founder) and Surabhi Sharma (one of the first LitWorld Nepal Mentors) attended this campaign to share how the women in our Nepalese community were emerging as leaders through their participation in Moms Club, how these women joined together to overcome the hardship and challenge social issues to make their community a better place for their daughters.

Sharing Rukmini story and our stories

Ms. Laxmi, Surabhi and I had an opportunity to share the stories of our communities that showed the positive changes these women brought to their rural communities; and we also got to hear stories of LitClub mentors from other parts of the world like Philippines and Kenya. We met strong girls like Lilibeth and Mordecai, Peachy and Rose, supporters like Global and LitWorld and their friends; inspiring leaders like Pam and Kylie; facilitators like Kate, Jennifer, Juliana, Binta, Ana and an entire team of Her Story campaign; and the determined Rukmini team members Bibhuti, Nabin and Anup during the campaign. Their work, motivation, hopes, and dreams have inspired me to share my experience with the LitClub members and Rukmini Foundation scholars back in Nepal. From them, I learned more about the strength, capacity, and importance of mentorship based leadership in community development.
Seeing former LitClub members like Lilibeth of the Philippines and Mordecai of Kenya become mentors in their community to overcome challenges and help other girls grow into upcoming leaders and mentors was an eye-opening experience. Their approach to mentorship became my inspiration, and major learning to take away from the Her Story NGO CSW experience. I promised myself to come back to my community in Nepal and help build a network of mentors through our LitCLub, to empower and enrich not only the LitClub participants but the whole community through them.

A gathering of inspirational mentors in NYC

At the NGO CSW event, we shared amongst ourselves the stories of how our communities were being developed through female empowerment, celebrating our victories with leaders from other communities and at the same time learning about different ways to approach the development of girls in rural communities. I believed that I was there in NGO CSW conference to participate as a representative of our community. However, what I learned and experienced at this conference was not just for me but for the benefit of my entire community. With this in mind, I decided to bring home my learnings regarding mentorship and its role in community development.

Being part of the global experience with LitClub Mentors

On my return, I connected with LitClub mentors to share my experience of NGO CSW conference. I shared with them what I learned about mentorship and how mentorship could add value to the community. I was unsure how my learnings would have been received in a community where mentorship is still a budding idea but our existing mentors were excited to hear about my learnings and have since actively participated with me in helping girls of LitClubs and Rukmini activities grow into mentors of the future. Mentorship is not only about guiding people with what you know but it is also about helping people grow into strong leaders who are able to in return mentor others who come after.
Roshani, a LitClub and Rukmini Scholar graduate from LitClub Panchakanya joined us and is now working towards being a strong mentor and role models for the girls in her community. I see that the idea of mentorship has already taken root in our society where girls like Roshani with the power to be a leader can make this happen. To ensure the mentorship program takes firm roots, we worked and planned to help our girls become stronger leaders and individuals with capacity building activities. LitClub Nepal will be working on capacity building of mentors through the reading, writing and sharing with the purpose of building strong networks of leaders to empower not just girls but the whole community.

Leaders and Mentors including Roshani

Our communities and their stories are traveling through our networks and connections. Our participation with global communities at events like Her Story Campaign is making us and our story of empowerment a part of the world as we learn about how women and girls in other parts of the world empower each other.
So I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of Rukmini Foundation and personally to thank Her Story, Lit World, Global Glow and other supporters for organizing such an amazing and inspirational program on leadership, and for giving us a platform to share our story and experience with the global village.

About Prakriti Nepal

As a student of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies, Prakriti has a keen interest in grassroots development that can lead to a lasting peace and sustained development for Nepal. Along with her passion for promoting gender equality and education for all, she brings a wealth of experience in working with various youth groups on different projects and programs. With Rukmini Foundation, she is serving as a Lead for the mentoring program (Didi) as well as being the liaison between the foundation and partners in Nepal. Through her leadership and efforts, she is not only inspiring Rukmini scholars but also the other young ladies who serve as mentors for the organization.
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