The Nuwakot Village
After months of preparation and planning we have finally set up a Seven Women branch in a remote village in Nuwakot, a district north of Kathmandu. It's part of our rural plan.
The Nuwakot Village
Distance from Kathmandu (kilometres): 45km
Distance from Kathmandu (travel time): 4 hours bus trip then 3 hour walk
*Distance between Melbourne CBD and Dandenong Ranges (kilometres): 47km
*Distance between Melbourne CBD and Dandenong Ranges (travel time): 50 minutes
We had an event on Thursday to welcome the women who will join the new literacy program.
The women haven't had an opportunity like this before. Another organisation set up literacy classes in a neighbouring village, but it took two hours to get there and many women gave up after a few days.
Most of the people in this village are from the Tamang ethnic group. The Tamang group is one of the largest ethnic groups in Nepal, but also one of the most disadvantaged both socially and economically.
The Tamang people are very traditional. Widows are thought to be bad luck in Nepalese society, but it is Tamang widows, single mothers and women with disabilities who face the most discrimination and their own communities often see them as a burden.
There are many young widows and single mothers in the Nuwakot village.
When Anita, our centre manager, first visited the village most of the women were too nervous to answer any of her questions, and had lived in hardship for so long they couldn't identify their basic needs.
This is why Anita suggested setting up a literacy class first.
Promoting education means promoting confidence. The ability to read is a very powerful thing. It's a skill to be learned, an accomplishment to be proud of, a key to independence and a doorway to a whole new world.
The power of literacy should never be underestimated.
Soon these women will be able to build up the self-belief and confidence that they need to live a better life, like the women in the Kathmandu skills centres.
Literacy classes are just the first step. Depending on what the women feel they need, we will organise services such as business skills classes, microfinance and greenhouse building supplies. These are tools the women can use to become self-sufficient and thrive on their own terms in the long term.
This is a wonderful start to our rural plan and we thank everyone who has supported us in our expansion, including the Cooper Foundation who are seed funding this project, making it possible.
We hope the future brings more smiles as radiant as this.
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