Ending Violence Against Widows in Nepal – Once and for All!

Harriet Macey | Oct 10, 2019
hese women works on a vegetable farm, which was set up with WHR’s help in Chapagaun, Nepal.
There are 259 million widowed women worldwide and over 115 million of these women live in poverty. Alongside this, widowed women face widespread cultural discrimination, stigmatisation and are exposed to abuse including property theft, eviction, social isolation and physical violence.

Womankind’s partner organisation Women for Human Rights (WHR) provides vital support to widows in Nepal, mobilising them to reclaim their stolen property rights and helping them to achieve greater economic independence. This autumn, Womankind and WHR are working together to make sure that Nepal’s widows are not denied their human rights.

Preventing harmful and discriminatory cultural practices 

Across the globe, widowed women are subjected to forced eviction and often lose their land and assets to their husband’s family. Upon their husbands’ death widows are left homeless, isolated and ostracised from their community. This loss of financial security can have far-reaching implications and is often accompanied by physical violence and intimidation.

Striving for change 

As of 2011, there were 218,040 widows in Nepal, comprising 4.6% of the female population. Almost half of all women in Nepal experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Amongst widows, this figure rises to 78%. 

This autumn, Womankind is embarking on a ground-breaking project in partnership with three women-led organisations: WHR, Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO) and Tewa to equip widows in Nepal with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to end their oppression once and for all. The project aims to give 1,300 women leaders greater power and influence over the decisions being made in their local communities and will unite over 12,000 women across Nepal to change the negative attitudes and discrimination that stop them from claiming what is rightfully theirs.

Stand with Nani, Santu and women in their community

Womankind has been working with Women for Human Rights (WHR) since 2011 to support women in Nepal and help them to rebuild their lives and regain their financial independence. 

For Nani, this support was invaluable:

“When my husband died we had nothing. I had three young children and we were livingNani Pariyar, aged 50, from Jhyalungtar, Chapagaun, was given 17 chicks 6 months ago so she could rebuild her home. WHR supported single women to become economi in a cow shed. I cried myself to sleep every night. They helped me set up my own small piece of land and provided me with 17 chickens so that I could start to earn a living. By selling the eggs and some of the chickens after they grew, I was able to buy materials to build my own house. It meant I could leave the shed and have a home to call my own… I finally felt like my life mattered to someone.” 

Santu has found new confidence after being supported to set up a new business:

“Finally, someone has helped us. Someone is listening to what we need. Now, we have an income and we don’t need to go to each other to take out a loan. We are independent. Thanks to WHR, we have formed a group and as a group, we feel strong and confident. We can speak up and claim our rights.”

Towards widows reclaiming their rights: how you can get involved

Together, we can help to create a fairer world for all women in Nepal. Increasing numbers of marginalised women are demanding their rights. With your support widowed women can continue to take back control of their lives and reclaim their independence. Get behind the women fighting for their rights by donating here.


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