Kirstin Yanisch (Nepal)

Kirstin Yanisch graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Political Science and French. During her time at Wellesley, she spent a January term studying women and the political economy of Ghana at the University of Ghana Legon. Following this experience, she conducted field research on women’s leadership and empowerment initiatives in local microfinance groups in the Siddi community in rural Karnataka India before spending a year studying French in Aix-en-Provence, France. During this time, Kirstin interned with the Red Cross Migrant service in Marseilles, assisting asylum seekers with filing their applications. She was named a Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs fellow during her senior year of college and interned with the United Nation Foundation’s Every Woman, Every Child initiative following graduation. She then taught English in southwestern France for a year. Afterwards, she interned with the American Refugee Committee’s headquarters office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently, Kirstin is enrolled in Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program. Upon returning from working in Nepal with the National Network for the Families of the Disappeared(NEFAD) Kirsten reflected, "I am very grateful to the Advocacy Project for the opportunity of a lifetime. Through my time with the fellowship, I was challenged to translate humanitarian principles into action and was surrounded by people who became incredible friends."

Bardiya At Last

19 Jul

Bardiya District

One landslide, many plates of dal bhat, and a full 24 hour bus ride later, we had reached Bardiya. For those who are counting, that’s seven hours more than expected. In the end, it took me longer to get to from Kathmandu to Bardiya than it took me to cross three continents and several oceans from the United States to Nepal.

There wouldn’t be time to rest. In the previous weeks, we had prepared a work plan that included consulting the group about their business plan, training on embroidery quality (facilitated by tips from American quilting partners), and developing a plan for a savings group as a financial management tool.  Most importantly, we would finally meet the group of creative, strong, survivors we had heard so much about.

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Pictured above are Tilak Rani, Bhabisara Tharu and Sharada Tharu, just a few of the incredible women I was about to encounter. Talik arrived early for the embroidery training and told us she had spent the morning working to plant in the field, and completing housework at home. On top of all of this, she was going to put in another full day’s work of training, embroidery, and business planning. Bhabisara and her sister Puja both participated in the training. Sharada is the incredible public speaker, who I describe in my voice journal (below). Snippets of their stories are available if you click their names.


I distributed embroidery hoops to start the training. Photo by Prabal Thapa.

The ladies were about to put me through my paces. To hear about the ladies, some mistakes, and my impromptu concert, all on Day One, have a listen:


Click here to donate to our  Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 10.57.46 AMproject for the Bardiya Conflict Victims Cooperative.

Posted By Kirstin Yanisch (Nepal)

Posted Jul 19th, 2017

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