Nepal: Launching an initiative in Women’s Empowerment through Liberty

With the success of our first national workshop “Women Empowerment Starts with Liberty for Women,” we decided to leave the seminar hall and take the event directly to those in need. I come from a small community in the eastern part of Nepal where I have witnessed women trying to invest their hard-earned savings that would generate income but their social norms, their families and their husbands won’t allow them to do so. Unfortunately, they end up giving their savings to their husbands, who spend and waste it. These are the societies where women struggle for emancipation and have sacrificed their individual happiness for the sake of social peace. With this in mind, we took the effort to encourage society about women’s individuality and economic liberty in the rural areas of Eastern Nepal by inviting local women entrepreneurs to share their inspiring stories. Our Journey started on the 12th of October, 2014 and lasted for over a week. We conducted the workshop in five locations with 163 participants. The workshop was conducted in association with the Nepal Peace Building Initiative of the Samriddhi Foundation, the Nepal Jaycees and SEVA Nepal. The workshop opened on the first day in Jhapa, Dharampur with 40 women aged 30 and above. The workshop began with Ms. Manju Taajpuriya, 33, a local entrepreneur who shared her story about economic emancipation. She explained how her life has changed in the last 3years when her husband abandoned the family and, she added with tears in her eyes, “At that time I had to live with what my in-laws gave me. I was often considered ‘a cursed woman with evil eyes’.” With the responsibility of two lives on her shoulder, she decided to earn her living by getting a second-hand sewing machine with $20 borrowed from a friend. …

Nepal: Where the Marxist-Leninists are the Moderate Option

I write to you today with a sigh of relief. With the fresh round of elections for the Constituent Assembly, the communist party, especially the Maoists have been downsized considerably thereby reducing the possibility of a communist dictatorship. After Nepal’s first ever Constituent Assembly (CA) failed to deliver the constitution on May 2012 and got dissolved, efforts were made to create a multiparty government. But the political negotiations where the Maoist party exercised much influence (Dr. Baburam Bhattarai from the Unified Communist Party Nepal (Maoists) still being the Prime Minister of the caretaker government) led to the formation of a technocratic electoral government in March 2013. In the meantime, a hardline faction split from the Unified Communist Party Nepal, Maoists on June 2012. The split faction led by Mohan Vaidya later opposed the second CA elections held on November 2013 and even used violent means, such as bombing, to deter the political parties and citizens from participating in the elections. Amidst ambiguity and confusion regarding the electoral technocratic government, led by Chief Justice Mr. Khil Raj Regmi, and its mandate, the second CA election was initially announced to be held on November 2012. Despite speculations to the contrary, the elections were held in a largely free and fair manner on November 19 2013. With a voter turnout of over 75% (despite violent obstructions and national strike by the hardline Maoist faction) and deemed free and fair by almost all national and international observers, the results of the election has left a huge majority of people and analysts shocked, especially the Maoist party itself. With the results of both front past the post voting and proportional representation, it could be said that Nepal’s politics has moved marginally towards right where Nepali Congress, the country’s oldest political party and considered to be …