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EmpowHER: Creating safe space for young women to learn and lead in Nepal

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Kathmandu, April 22, 2017: Prarthana Saakha, the co-founder of Helmets Nepal had long wanted to do something for the road safety of girls, as no such works have been organized focusing on girls. Though there are a lot of activities on boys’ segment, she felt that it’s severely lacking on the girls’ part. Thus she recently joined a special programme with an aim to bring her impact idea into reality.

Nancy Agrawal is another lady who is willing to start a new television programme, and empower girls through the media by telling the stories of some impressive girls and women of Nepal. Having worked in a national television since long, she felt that TV shows like these are lacking. Thus, she too has joined the programme this year to turn her thought to reality.

As many as 18 girls like Prarthana and Nancy are participating in the third iteration of EmpowHER, one of its kind of programme run by Ujyalo Foundation, that has started in the capital on Saturday. EmpowHER is a fusion of leadership and idea incubation programme that provides young women in Nepal a safe platform to explore and execute their ideas and enhance their leadership skills. Initiated in 2015, the programme aims to increase the number of young women in leadership and decision-making roles in Nepal.

Sharing the reasons behind initiating the programme, Amuda Mishra, Executive Director of Ujyalo Foundation shares that EmpowHER was started with an aim to create self-reliant women leaders who showcase independence, resilience, and competence in today’s world and can be the role models for other women in the community and effectively contribute to the society. “Seeing the previous EmpowHER cohorts, and their roles to bring out some notable changes in their community is what makes us continue the programme year after year,” she shares with enthusiasm.

Similarly, Narayani Gaha, manager of the programme says, “Being a girl, and having to go through many situations that made me feel inferior just because I’m a girl is what made me to get associated with the programme.” She further says that seeing the enthusiasm in the girls, and hunger to learn, and transform themselves into leaders is what makes her feel great about continuing being part of the programme.

Bibhusan Bista, the CEO of Young Innovations Pvt. Ltd. finds that gender discrimination is still a great barrier to the women, and they need motivations and support to start something on their own. “The projects like EmpowHER act as catalysts to trigger their ideas, and make their dream come true by providing all the required resources, mentorship and network,” he shares.

Yashaswi Surana, an alumnus of the project feels that getting into EmpowHER made her realize her true potential, and start working impactful works for the society. She is currently working on the impact project, Sanitation Health & Environment (SHE), which is on a mission of creating women friendly restrooms at public spaces in Kathmandu valley via professional sanitation marketing.

After getting mentorship from the programme, as many as 28 girls, including Yashaswi have already been working on various impact projects in their communities.

Over the course of next four months, the EmpowHER cohorts will go through various activities and get involved with the community.

Glocal Khabar, as the official online media partner, will bring out regular updates about the programme throughout the project duration.

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal