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From My Diary: The River of Life, EmpowHER Week1

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Kathmandu, June 14, 2016

As I entered the auditorium, the cheerful ladies were having lively discussions with each other after a Guest-lecture cum Leadership session.

I saw them sharing their experiences from the Guest Lecture Session delivered by Anjana Luitel on the topic ‘Identity, Self and Society’, that introduced the cohort of 16 ladies to what leadership is, why leadership and how to lead in the present day society among many such other issues.

They were discussing how the first day unfolded and what they learnt from the special leadership session with the trainer. Their brightly lit faces clearly indicated this.

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And, what I got to see next was just what I had wished to see for a long time.

Amuda Mishra, initiator of the programme sketched a river on the white-board showing its path of flow from its origin along with different turning points it has taken (to comparing as a metaphor of one’s life). With its three different segments viz. past, present and future along with decisions at each of the segments, it showed how the decisions in the past led them to their present situation and how the decisions at present will have an impact on their future.

Listening to the stories of their (representative ladies) life was really an awe inspiring moment. They shared the story of their challenging past, what triggered them to apply for the fellowship and be a part of this cohort and how they expect it to bring about positive changes in their life.

They shared where they will see themselves in the future. And, what responsibility they are taking to change the present. They also shared how they will take a voice out to speak against the injustice they are facing as our society is full of prejudices and vices based on the gender where girls are much controlled by the rules and norms of the society.

One of the participants mentioned that she is learning skills and grabbing knowledge voraciously so that she can determine her future on her own. Another participant, who has been working in an NGO since the last three years, shared how there is unhealthy competition going on among the organizations resulting them not being able to work as much as these organizations could. “After I came to know about this programme, I felt that this is the right platform where I can learn the skills needed to grow in the direction I want,” she shared.

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The programme envisions to enable the girls to pursue their dreams courageously and dream to make a change in their life for their better future. The program also encourages the girls to change the current status quo of women in Nepal and work towards building a society equal for all.

Talking about their individual project followed next in the programme. The session was rounds of opinions and views sharing session under which all the participants talked about their projects for EmpowHER on different aspects including their core ideas and process of implementation.

This was a very lively session in which they had to put forward their views on these aspects 30 seconds each. It was interesting to listen to their answers. They talked about their ideas, why they chose that particular project, what sort of impact it will be having in the society, among others. They also shared how excited they are about the projects, how they can bring about a change in the society and change the perception of the people.

They also shared what they want to instill in them at the end of this session and where they want to reach in this duration.

In 14 week duration, the ladies will be learning different aspects of EmpowHER core values, i.e. identity, sisterhood, collaboration, impact, and diversity, and individuality, leadership along with introspection, inclusion, accountability, commitment, equality, feminism, strength and humanity.

Attending the session and listening to these ladies was really a wonderful experience for me. It has left an unforgettable impression on my mind.

I wish all the best to these ladies for their projects and I am eagerly waiting to see how the next week’s session unfolds.

Photos Courtesy: Ujyalo Foundation

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal