Location: Nepal, Kathmandu
Partner: Women for Human Rights (WHR) single group
Women in Nepal are discriminated against in many aspects of life, from cultural traditions to laws and policies.
Widows are amongst the most marginalized and discriminated of all women in Nepal.
Widows often suffer from social isolation due to the cultural restrictions placed upon them. This makes them vulnerable in many ways. This project aims to empower these women to help rebuild their lives and encourages solidarity between them.
Womankind is collaborating with Women for Human Rights (WHR) to support widows across Nepal.
What Womankind is doing
With WHR we are:
- Providing a safe space and resource centre at the “Chharari” shelter to over 100 widows in order to increase their skills and enhance their livelihoods
- Providing tailor made counselling sessions to widows to overcome trauma and re-build confidence and self esteem
- Providing legal services to allow the widows to claim and access their rights
- Encouraging support among widows through a country-wide Single Women Group Network. The network includes 45,110 members in 68 districts, organized into 410 individual widows’ groups.
What we have achieved so far
- Through awareness raising and lobbying, WHR have achieved changes in discriminatory laws against single women, such as:
- Property of deceased husband does not need to be returned after remarriage
- A widow does not need to be 35 years to inherit deceased husband’s property
- Male consent is no longer required while acquiring a passport and citizenship.
- WHR raised the social and economic status of Nepalese widows and their families; highlighting their plight to international bodies such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women; WHR is leading this movement in the South Asian region as the Secretariat for South Asian Network for Widows Empowerment in Development.
- In relation to the Chhahari shelter, we have achieved:
- In the last 6 months, 38 women have stayed in the secure and caring environment at the Chhahari to undergo support and training to increase their skills
- Widows are increasingly aware of their rights on the citizenship cartificate, marriage certificate and registration of the death of their husband and especially their property rights
- 21 widows have received skill development and capacity building leadership trainings
“I wanted to learn driving from the beginning. My daughters have encouraged me to come to Kathmandu and take the training. I will go back to my district and start driving and earn money for my children”. Suryakala Rai, a 39 year old widow, who attended driving classes at the WHR Chhahari shelter.