Meet Shoeha Dahal, a young single woman living in Gaighat struggling to get by since her husband’s death six years ago who died in the conflict innocently. She has two children that can only go to school with the help of local NGO’s since the cost of school fees are such a burden. Shoeha cannot wear bright colorful saris like married women, only white dress which tells society that she does not have a husband or a fulfilled life. When her husband died, Shoeha was left with very little and no support. With a family to provide for, she did not know what to do. Luckily, local organizations are beginning to see the crisis with how single women are treated in Nepal.
A new organization in Gaighat, Agency for Community Development and Change (ACDC) is pioneering a single women’s project in the Udayapur district. Unfortunately, this district is known as one of the worst areas in the country regarding inequalities of women.
The major objective is to empower single women to speak out for themselves and their families. Shoeha has used her own life positively by becoming an activist with ACDC. They have formed 23 women’s groups throughout the area to help single women in skill building, (learning how to sew to building chairs) education and aid in school fees by creating a loan system.
Shoeha’s plea is to change society’s overall perception of single women. The biggest problem is economic due to the lack of job training and skills. Interest free loans and free education for children and parents of single women are greatly needed Shoeha proclaims. Also, the knowledge of law in Gaighat is limited and assistance is needed with land rights, economic stability and conflict among families is common.
The government only gives monthly subsidies to single women over 60 years old. Shoeha, ACDC and NESPEC hope to change this law for all single women and also establish other government incentives. In addition, Shoeha hopes to create a similar discount system to that of India’s government, where single women receive a discount card for food and transportation. Such a subsidy system in Nepal would benefit women’s daily lives as well as their futures economically.
Posted By Morgan St. Clair
Posted Sep 3rd, 2009