Rukmini Foundation rallies against gender-based violence

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an International campaign that challenges violence against women and girls throughout the world between 25th November to 10th December.  Between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25/11) and Human Rights Day (10/12), organizations all over the world organize events and activities to raise awareness about gender-based violence and measures to overcome this social deviation. We, at the Rukmini Foundation, to participate in the campaign against gender-based violence organized a rally with our members on 3rd of December at Bhandarkharka village under the slogan “End Violence Against Women”.

With over 50 members in participation, including Rukmini staff, RF scholars from grade 11 and 12, members of Mom’s Club, and the Panchakanya Lit Club with their moms, the rally campaigned through the remote area of Bhadarkharka village. The participating scholars and moms from various regions walked through the village with banners and play cards with slogans for the elimination of violence against women.

Our goal of this rally was not just to raise awareness among the community about gender-based violence, but also to encourage the community to work together and take a stance against such violence. Awareness is the first step. However, for effective action to eliminate all gender-based violence, communities must engage with each other and stand together in taking action. To this end, after the rally, we did an interaction program in the Bhandarkharka community to engage the pariticipants.

This interaction program gave people a platform to talk about their personal experience, share ideas and provide support in a community setting. Current RF Scholar Nirmala Praja who participated in the interaction program by sharing her own experience said:

“This is my such first program and I am very happy to be a part of this program. I am from one of the decriminalized caste in Nepal. In our community, domestic violence is a great issue. Almost all women are suffering from different sorts of violence in their life. From this rally and sharing with community people, I am more aware of what gender-based violence is and how we, the people, can take a stand against such issues.”

Putting Up a Resistance Against Gender-Based Violence

Purna Lama from the village also took the stage and shared that gender-based violence was fairly common in her community and within families. As such, the awareness events helped start the conversation about eradicating gender-based violence as well as domestic violence. Rita Rumba added that she remembers domestic violence being even a bigger issue in the past. But with awareness and women empowerment as a topic of conversation through the community, people are getting more conscious of their actions. She mentions that positive changes are happening, abit slowly but it is a start.

The rally and interaction event had a positive impact on many participants. For many, it was an opportunity to learn and understand more about gender-based violence. For others, this event provided information on possible actions one can take when they themseleves or someone they know are victims of gender-based and domestic violence. Mom’s club member, Thuli Kanchhi Balami said she was very impressed with the program.

“I was a victim of domestic violence in the past. Through this program, I have an opportunity to raise awareness in the community women regarding gender-based violence and ways they can get out of the violent situation in a safe manner.”

Niru Lama, another member of Bhadarkharka village shared that awareness rallies help empower people, mostly women, to act against any form of violence but we still have a lot of work to do to eliminate all violence from our society.

”Bhandarkharka village is one of the most remote areas of Dakshinkali Municipality and is comprised mostly of impoverished Tamang community. We, women are suffering from domestic violence on a daily basis but we do not know we have support to stand against violence. These events help sensitize the community towards the violent social deviation and encourage them to work towards eliminating the gender based violence. Such awareness rallies are especially helpful for women who are facing the violence within our community, as they realize they have support available to them.”

Our organization is founded on the belief that empowered women and girls are the basis of a happy, healthy community. As such, Rukmini Foundation is always looking at different ways to help our communities grow and thrive through empowerment and education. This rally against gender-based violence in Bhandarkharka village was a success as we were able to take initial steps to raise awareness and support to the women in the community.

We hope to continue our work to encourage communities to converse and stand together to eliminate the gender-based violence that haunts their community.

-Usha Adhikari

About Pallavi Gyawali

Pallavi aspires to work towards social development in intercultural communities and currently works for a non-profit organization to promote healthy lifestyle in different cultural groups of her community. She has a degree in Sociology and hopes to further her education in the field of social development and social justice. She is an avid reader and takes inspiration from various world literature, which reflects in her writing and thoughts on community development.
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