Nicole Farkouh

Nicole Farkouh (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Nicole graduated from Smith College with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. She also has a Master of Education from the University of New Orleans. Nicole’s professional background is in education. She has worked as a teacher, administrator, and consultant, mainly with middle school students with special needs. She is also a certified community mediator and has studied a complementary model of mediation based on Non-Violent Communication. She has studied abroad in India, lived and taught in Mexico. At the time of her fellowship, she was studying for a Master of Public Policy degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. After her fellowship, Nicole wrote: "More than anything, this summer I received a new level of understanding /appreciation for the complexity involved in “development” and “human rights” work…. Particularly being a foreign body trying to work in a new culture."



THE MADHESHI WOMEN’S NATIONAL CONFERENCE – PART III: EXCERPTS FROM “HAMRO KATA” OR “OUR STORY”

30 Aug

1. We are Madheshi women. We are Dalit, Tharu, Rajvarrshi, Meche, Hindu, and Muslim. We speak Hindi, Mathili, Bhojpuri, Nepali, Rajvarrshi, Tharu, Urdu, and many other languages. We are diverse but we are one and united.

2. We are Madheshi women. We are mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. Early in the morning we get up, clean the utensils, and cook food. We feed our children and husbands and send them to their schools and offices. We toil in the fields and care for them. We walk to the jungle, cut firewood, and carry it home. We collect grass to feed the cows and buffalos. We bear children and raise them. We care for our families, teach our children, get them married, and then look after our grandchildren. We toil so hard yet our parents, husbands, brothers, and leaders fail to understand our feelings, our struggles, and our pain.

3. We are Madheshi women. We have many struggles but we are not powerless; we are the personification of strength. We did not have money to pursue studies. Many worked hard to pay for their education. Our road to school was blocked by family and community members but we revolted and reached the schools. At very early ages our parents got us married and we solved all the problems that resulted. Even after taking huge doweries our in-laws tortured us mentally and physicallyMany of our husbands hungered for more dowry and wanted to marry again; many doing so two or three times. Even with no formal education while looking after the house we learned to handle many matters. Many of us are unmarried, cast out, and widowed.

4. We are Madheshi women. We engage in social work. Along with our jobs we are involved in social activities. Many of us are in politics. Our families tried to stopped many of us from getting involved in politics – they suppressed our will to come forward. We have to live behind the veil, yet we haven’t stopped doing what we love to do. Holding on to the hope that we can also do something we are slowly emerging out of the walls of the house. Most of us are the victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and social violence. Thinking that all these problems must be addressed through political decisions, we are stepping onto the public stage.

5. We are Madheshi women. We are leaders. We get involved in politics and social service. We have started organizations to serve society. We protect those who are victimized, oppressed, and used, we raise their consciousness, and we organize them to emerge as a powerful force for restructuring our society and country.

6. We are Madheshi women. We have a vision for a new Nepal. In this new Nepal no one will be exploited or oppressed. Women will have seized our rights and we will thrive. We will be governed by a constitution written by a body that is inclusive and representative. Madheshi women will be ministers, and some day prime minister and president in the new Nepal. We will all be employed. There will be no dowry system. Our daughters and daughter-in-laws will be respected. Women will be 50% of politicians and bureaucrats. Women will be in charge of government organizations. Women will hold high offices and even become justices. The new Nepal will be beautiful, peaceful, and powerful and for each person there will be justice, equality, and freedom.

7. We are Madheshi women. We call upon our brothers and sisters from Madheshi, Janajati, Pahadi, and all other communities to work together to build the new Nepal of our dreams.

Posted By Nicole Farkouh

Posted Aug 30th, 2007

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