Kathmandu, May 22, 2018: Twenty young women have begun their journey in EmpowHER 2018 program, an idea incubation and leadership institute with an oath to be the nation builders. The program, now in its fourth year, has been launched by Ujyalo Foundation on Saturday, May 19 with the theme of “Young Women Crossing the Line.”
The orientation started off with Yajaswi Rai, Co-Lead of EmpowHER 2018, giving a brief introduction on Ujyalo Foundation and EmpowHER program. This made the participants familiar with what was to come in the next 16 weeks. Rai further mentioned that the program is aimed at “breaking barriers to achieve dreams and fulfill desires to become successful leaders”.
Chhiring Yangjum Sherpa, co-lead of EmpowHER 2018, in her welcome speech, reflected on the provided insight on the growth of EmpowHER over the years. She talked about how ”leadership has to be learned and has to be practiced.”
The keynote speaker of the program, Sharu Joshi Shrestha, Gender and Development specialist, who is also one of the 6 Advising Committee Members of EmpowHER 2018 spoke about the need for women empowerment stressed on the opportunities and knowledge that the participants can receive from the program. She also mentioned that it is important to work for personal growth together with the country’s growth. “Doing anything alone will not benefit anyone, going to the states and relishing on things there will not help anyone. Working together alongside the country’s development can only ensure progress and prosperity,” said Shrestha.
Prarthana Saakha, one of the winners of EmpowHER 2017, also spoke about how the program helped her to achieve confidence in her business ideas. Her service impact project, PRAYAS is aimed at reducing the number of casualties on road. Through the project Prarthana has been training youths at various colleges and institutions in Kathmandu with a professional safety course designed for the roads of Nepal.
Likewise, Priya Rajbhandary, winner of EmpowHER Junior, also shared her experiences of the program. She mentioned that through the program, she learned to voice her doubts and question the system. She started to look at things from a different perspective, she was overwhelmed by the sisterhood and how they grew over the sessions.
The twenty participants were selected by the advising committee which consisted of Avinash Jha, Education & Fellowship Director of United World Schools; Chhiring Yangjum Sherpa, EmpowHER Co-Lead of Ujyalo Foundation; Deepak Sapkota, Executive Director of Karuna Foundation; Kamal Keshari Tuladhar, President of ASMAN and Director of Bluebird Mall; Nikita Acharya, CEO & Co-Founder of Urban Girl along with Sharu Joshi Shrestha. The participants will go through 16 weeks of rigorous training to polish their project ideas and hone their leadership skills.
At the inauguration and orientation event, the participants had an introductory session with their assigned mentors. The mentors for EmpowHER 2018 consist of Anil Basnet, founder and CEO of metrotarkari.com; Bivishika Bhandari, the Program Lead at Hamri Bahini; Mona Aditya, the Alumni Affairs Manager at Teach for Nepal; Dr.Madhurima Bhadra, Public Health Specialist; Pratap Adhikari, Social Worker; Rakshya Paudyal, Program Manager at Beyond Beijing Committee; Saguna Shah, Educator & Founder of bOOkahOlics; Samiksha Rai, Co-Founder of Pack My Lunch; Sanjog Thakuri, Youth Activist and Santosh Pandey, Co-founder of Offering Happiness & Happy Brands.
Along with mentors, the participants were also paired with Big Sister, participants and changemakers of previous EmpowHER cohorts. The big sisters consisted of Grishma Shrestha and Samanata Thapa, changemakers of EmpowHER 2015, Barsha Rani Gurung and Tara Khadk of EmpowHER 2016, Anjana Jarga Magar, Nuchhu Hangma Rai, Pabitra Majhi, Pradhanya Yonzon, Suraksha Shrestha and Rojina Parajuli of EmpowHER 2017.
The big sisters shared their personal experiences of EmpowHER with the participants and answered their queries about what they should expect from the program. “Not only did I learn a lot of important things from EmpowHER but I got the opportunity to implement those things just as swiftly. I believe the new cohort will experience an even better opportunity to utilize this platform and learn to become better leaders,” said Pabitra Majhi, a winner of EmpowHER 2017 and also one of the big sisters in this year’s EmpowHER.
EmpowHER, already in its fourth year, will help these young women to enhance their leadership skills and will also provide seed fund money to three best ideas that can be turned into livelihood opportunities.