“If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.”
– Greg Mortenson in Three Cups of Tea
VIN believes in the equal opportunities of women in Nepal, therefore we have created a variety of projects which assist women to overcome current adversity to not only survive, but thrive in society. According to UNESCO only 44.5 per cent of Nepali females are literate, at disparate odds from their 77.6 per cent of their male counterparts. Through this program VIN volunteers have a chance to assist women’s empowerment, by boosting literacy and health education, providing income generation tips and micro credit loans. We see the rise in quality of life for the women as fundamental to positive development for Nepal as a whole. By providing women with the tools to be at the helm of their own future successes, we hope to highlight how gender parity is central to Nepal’s prosperity.
Many challenges within the community stem from the fact that educated men tend to leave their communities to find work, while women stay home. A locally based women’s empowerment program has the potential to transform these women into powerful force within their community. VIN understands that the future of many communities lies in the hands of empowered female leaders, who may share their knowledge in the communities’ best interests.
Working towards women’s empowerment enables one to support women in their pursuit of healthy and sustainable livelihoods. Women’s groups provide a forum discussing issues such as:
- Family health
- Women’s rights
- Access to resources
- Income generation
Volunteers have the opportunity to exchange ideas, collaborate in ongoing projects, teach Basic English skills, help with small businesses, and be positive role models. You can also provide support in many other ways, depending on your skills and interests and the needs of the local community.
VIN’s women’s empowerment program includes:
- Education (Literacy), rights and life skills
- Saving and credit – micro-credit through cooperatives
- Income generative skills training
- Women’s health and maternity education
- Teaching English Language to young women
In 2013 VIN taught 118 women through literacy classes, and over 500 since its inception in 2004. These classes were taught in partnership with local teachers and overseen by the women’s empowerment program to ensure a standard quality of teaching. Women must to be able to speak good English if they wish access career options through the internet, but also to impress locally based multinational companies. Education is also a tool through which discrimination of women in Nepal can be ended. Your role may be to illustrate how learning English leads to an exposure of outside knowledge and ideas.
Discriminated women within the program receive skills-orientated training so that they may independently generate income through projects such as vegetable farming (organic and non-organic), livestock, sewing and carving, incense and candle making, and dry food processing. So, if you have the skills to produce marketable items and would like to help women in these communities overcome discrimination, let us know!
Role of the Volunteer
- Work with VIN local staff to train women
- Help women’s groups in learning about account keeping
- Work with women in their farm
- Participate in and initiate awareness raising activities in various issues
- Teach and promote women’s rights
- Discuss women’s health issues
- Lead activities that teach life skills, e.g. leadership skills, decision making, communication, problem solving, coping with stress
- Teach English language to the young women
- Develop small grant proposals to fund women’s empowerment programs
- Research for funding agencies and raise funds for local projects
- Help explore possible market for women’s products
- Research and conduct case studies on women’s empowerment programs,
- Write about success stories, but keeping a critical viewpoint
Who we are looking for?
VIN invites all interested volunteers to help women through these programs. Come with expertise and share your knowledge or come to learn and share experiences with others. Your small effort makes a big difference to ending discrimination against women in the most marginalised communities. It takes time for you to learn about the local women before you start your actual work and you need patience for that. Change is not dramatic, not at first, but the series of decisions you make within the organisation have lasting long-term effects.
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