Edwon is a wonderful organization that we have support through our grants program for several years.
Path way to Empowerment
The prime goal of Association for Dalit Women Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) is the empowerment of Dalit women of rural parts of Nepal. ADWAN aims to empower Dalit women through education, business initiatives and awareness. ADWAN tirelessly worked for ten year launching continuous programs and activities related to these themes. Since the process of social transformation is slow, it took longer time to get the achievements and outputs of so much devotion and effort.
The impacts of the programs, in the initial years, were not visible, measurable and remarkable. Gradually the impacts of ADWAN’s work are coming into the limelight. 71 women groups from different part of Nepal are working and struggling independently for their economic, political, social, educational and livelihood betterments. After a long course of time the pre-school program, scholarship, sponsorship, loan program, gender and caste awareness trainings, human rights workshops, group meetings and discussions, inter-group sharing program, motivation and mobilization of groups for community development works have evolved the individual Dalit women and children to have become empowered. There are numerous examples of women and girls leading progressive and transformed way of life in ADWAN’s project areas these days.
The selective success stories of few women are illustrated below:
1. Funu Pariyar
Fig. 1 Funu Pariyar Fig. 2 Funu Pariyar in white with group women and central staffs
Funu Pariyar is the president of Patiswara Women Group in Gorkha, Nepal. The group was founded by ADWAN in 2004 to bring the Dalit women into unity to combat domestic violence, caste and gender discriminations, poverty and illiteracy. This women’s group with ten members has now become a model for social and economic transformation in the locality. Funu said, “I was enthusiastic and eager to learn new things and interested to take part in community works since my teenage. But there wasn’t platform and encouragement to act accordingly. The formation of women’s group created platform and encouragement for me to learn new things and take part in community development activities.”
Funu lives with her husband, two sons and a daughter. She new reproducing many children is a burden. So, she gave birth to only three children. Reproducing many children randomly is common in rural villages of Nepal mostly among Dalit community and this is one of the causes which generate other problems like illiteracy, poor health and poverty.
Her husband was and is supportive to her. They struggled together to send their children to school. She grabbed all the opportunities of scholarships and other supports for educating children made available from ADWAN and the government bodies. Her eldest son has completed secondary school and is now attending 10+2 college. The daughter, too, has finished health training course (CMA) after finishing secondary education. Similarly the youngest son is attending high school. It is notable that she educated all the children and she is among the fewer parents to educate all the children properly.
Fig. 3 Farm House Fig. 4 White Pigs
As a head the group she attended many regional workshops, trainings and interactions launched by ADWAN. She engaged herself to interact, discuss and talk to visitors from ADWAN office and foreigners from Empowerment of Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON) when they visited the group frequently. In her leadership the group raised voice against domestic violence and untouchability in the village and the worse situation of violence and untouchability improved tremendously though not eliminated.
Fig. 5 Black Pigs
In the course of mobilizing group savings she studied and experienced the newer ideas of business initiatives. Three years ago ADWAN provided Nepalese Rupees 20,000 (near about US$ 285) loan to her group for business initiatives. With the consensus from the group Funu borrowed the loan to start small scale poultry. From the poultry she made good profit. She already repaid the loan and is continuing to rear chicken.
The members of the group and other women in the village get inspired by the success of her business. They started to discuss if they could launch such business. Acknowledging the geography, climate, availability of fundamental needs, technical support, market and investment they came into the decision of pig rearing. The Patiswara village is linked by rough road to the main highway. There is supply of electricity and plenty of water. The people dwelling in the village prefer pork and there is a veterinary office in the next village.
Funu and Saraswati Pariyar from the group and other three women from the village planed to start a business-scale pig farm as a joint venture. They raised Nepalese Rupees 300,000 fund with equal shares.
They hired land, build pig sties, fit water pipes and fixed all the necessary infrastructures. Then they bought 26 piglets from Pokhara and started rearing the pigs. They piglets were brought on April, 2009. During my last visit to Patiswara in November I observed the farm. At time the pigs were big and ready for sale. They had sold two of them. Two of them were pregnant. And the rest of 22 pigs were there.
Fig. 6 Fish Pond Fig. 7 Vegetable Farming
According to Funu the pigs weigh around 50 kgs and 1 kg of pork costs Rupees 150. It shows that they will earn Rupees 7500 by selling one pig and selling 24 pigs they will earn around Rupees 180,000. In addition to this the two pregnant females will produce piglets for rearing next lot of farm.
The veterinary personnel suggested them that the wastes and excreta of the pig are useful for fish farming. So, they have dug two fish ponds on down side of the pig sties. They brought fingerlings and started fish culture. Beside this the women have planted cabbage and cauliflower in the rest of the spare land with the manure from the pig farm.
In this way the Patiswara group women in the leadership of Funu Pariyar have started big scale business which is the best example that traced the PATH WAY TO EMPOWERMWNT.
(To be continued ……. with the other stories of EMPOWERED WOMEN)
29th December, 2009 (14th Poush, 2066)