At our recent AGM, we reflected on the challenges of the past year for our partners in Nepal. There are now more fatalities from COVID-19 than the 2015 earthquake and the impact of livelihoods has been devestating. Reports of domestic violence to Nepal’s government-run domestic violence hotline have significantly increased since 2019. The inability to run in-person events and trips to Nepal has made fundraising challenging.
We're proud that despite a tough year, we've been able to continue to provide vital funding for programs that have real impact for women and girls in Nepal. With your generosity, we've expanded our funding from one to two Family Based Care homes and supported new education projects.
We focus on having deep, rather than wide, impact. In the past year, we supported:
These may seem like small numbers but we know family strengthening, education and safe employment breaks intergenerational cycles of poverty and violence. We know that a child that grows up in a safe family has stronger health, wellbeing and resilience and has greater opportunity to make informed decisions about their future. We also know that a girl with an education has a decreased risk of domestic violence, greater decision-making power and is more likely to educate her own children.
In Nepal, with the exception of a few months, schools have been closed since March 2019. Last year, thanks to your donations, we provided tablets to 23 children to study remotely. This had immediate and significant benefits.
Previously children, all at different stages of their schooling, were sharing 4 laptops between them. They were unable to speak with their teachers directly and, as the laptops were at Asha's community centre, it was risky for them to travel during the height of the pandemic. Now all the children can attend school virtually while at home. Asha reports that children’s wellbeing has improved and housemothers, who were previously trying to cover the gap in schooling, are less stressed.
We have also been focused on increasing the engagement and expansion of our community, through volunteering, screenings, newsletters and social media.
#SomethingForSlavery, our campaign in collaboration with Be Slavery Free, called on T2 and its parent company, Unilever, to commit to a living wage for tea workers in Assam, India. After 8 months of campaigning, 10 virtual tea parties and over 200 emails to T2, Unilever committed to providing a living wage for any worker that provides direct goods and services to the company by 2030. With over 300 suppliers in Assam alone, this will have significant impacts for low wage workers. While #SomethingForSlavery is on pause at the moment while we focus on our partners in Nepal during COVID-19, we will continue to monitor Unilever's progress towards their commitment.
We further developed our governance frameworks with the finalisation of two key policies in Partnerships and Safeguarding, which will include training for our partners and volunteers.
A special thank you to all our volunteers, including eight new additions to the team and two new board members. As a volunteer-run organisation, their passion for the rights of women and girls and hard work keeps Project Didi going!
And of course, a very special thank you to our donors and community who have supported Project Didi Australia over the past year. Thank you for your commitment to meaningful futures for women and girls!
We look forward to sharing our Annual Report with you soon.