Happy International Women’s Day!
A day to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women globally. To mark the occasion we caught up with Kusum, who is part of the management team at our partner organisation, Asha Nepal to learn a bit more about herself and Asha's commitment to improving the lives of women and girls, survivors of trafficking and abuse.
What inspires you about the work you do?
After receiving my Bachelor degree I worked as a literacy teacher in an NGO, where I first met girls who had survived trafficking. This experience gave me a deep commitment to help.
These women and girls have experienced so much, return to communities where they face stigma and yet they come together and have the confidence to support others and work hard to build better lives for themselves. They are so hard working, planning ahead to make their life well again. Their will power, that inspires me.
I have now worked in the sector for 7 years.
How does gender inequality make women and girls vulnerable?
Girls are born into this world but they aren’t given preference within the family and they are always understood as only temporary. A girl can never think of herself. When she is born she has to think of her family, then her husband’s family and after that she has to look up to her son and depend upon him.
Girls are prepared for marriage and to live with her husband’s family early in her life. She is only a temporary part of her family. So why would she not go? If girls were given equal opportunity and equal priority she would be equally empowered. If she could speak more openly with her family when someone makes her offers of big and luxurious things she would be able to make more informed decisions. Since girls are often required to leave their families when they are young, at uncertain phases in their life, these offers, even if they leave them vulnerable to trafficking, are attractive.
Women do not have education, property or financial independence. More girls in urban areas go to university, whereas girls in rural areas go to class 10-12 at a maximum as their families see no use to continue their education.
What do think you are some of the important ways Asha empowers women and girls?
Education. Girls need to learn they don’t have to say okay when their family say get married.
The situation for girls are different after trafficking. Some girls can return to their homes and families, others cannot.
Our social workers visit girls and women to make sure everything is okay. We make sure they feel supported and feel that someone is always beside them. For some there is no way back home. Their families do not accept them. Some have to find independence and a safe peer group. We help them find work and gain financial independence.
What do you think an equal world looks like for the women and girls that you work with?
A world where equal priority is given to everyone. Priority is given both to sons and daughters, a world where individuals have equal rights and access to education and opportunities. A world where both boys and girls are enabled to make their own decisions.
To do this we need to prioritise daughters as human beings. We need to see her as part of the family and give her equal priority as is given to sons.
How would you encourage others to engage in action to create a gender equal world?
Educated women are enabled women!
You can use your effort, time and money to bring about change. Share knowledge. Invest in the education of girls. Investment in equality will create a better world for everyone. It will reduce violence and reduce trafficking. Be aware. Offer the skills you can share.
This International Women's Day, invest in equality, education & independence for women and girls!
There are many ways you can support our work with Asha Nepal.
Make a donation.
Support a girl's education. Provide training for a women-led catering business.
Travel to Nepal with us.
Bookings now open for October!
$500 from your trip goes directly to support Asha Nepal - and you'll be able to see your impact in action with a visit to Asha.
Hold a fundraiser at your workplace, school or university.
Get in touch!