managed by Hannah D. (Communication)
WFN is run by professional Nepalese women who work on a wide variety of interconnecting programmes to remove gender inequality in Nepal. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that the women of Nepal are strong, independent and in control of their lives and futures. We believe that empowering women and removing gender inequality will greatly reduce the prevalence of violence towards women and children in Nepal. We want the women of Nepal to play an integral role in shaping the future of the country, hand in hand with men.
We aim to achieve this through a variety of initiatives and programmes. These are focused on the following goals:
1. To provide safe shelter and medical, psychological and legal support to women and children who have been victims of violence and abuse. We often work with women who have fled abusive homes and are left unsupported by their families. These women would otherwise be destitute with little hope of securing a job or any sort of future for themselves or their children.
2. To provide destitute or abused women with skills training and empowerment programs. We also want to provide children in our care with access to kindergarten, school and university education. We want to ensure that everyone in our care has the ability to succeed in their lives and reach their educational and career goals. We believe that education and training for women is an essential part of the process of achieving gender equality in Nepal.
3. To foster a new generation of independent business women through enhanced access to micro credit funding, credit agencies and savings schemes for women. We believe that financial independence is a key factor in protecting women from violence and abuse. We want women to be educated in all areas of financial planning and management and have the skills needed to succeed in their business ventures. We know that these women will act as positive role models in their communities and inspire other women to follow their own career aspirations.
4. To work toward the elimination of gender bias in laws, rules and regulations and to lobby for equal participation for women at all levels of government and decision-making. We think that for our programmes to succeed in the long term we need to change the gender inequality that pervades all aspects of decision making in the government.
WFN runs a variety of projects including:
Residential shelter for women and children
Since 1995 WFN has run a shelter in Kathmandu which currently houses over 70 women and children from all over Nepal.
Many of the women who come to the shelter are from violent domestic households (these women often bring their children with them) and others have escaped from forced prostitution in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The children have come to the home after being orphaned, exploited as child labourers, abused, or turned out onto the streets due to acute poverty in the family.
The shelter removes these women and children from these circumstances and offers them safety. Once removed from the potentially dangerous environment, the women can turn to other WFN programs to get medical attention, counselling and free legal aid to practically improve their situations. They have the opportunity to learn important skills, including reading and writing, when they are more mentally and physically stable. Decisions in the shelter are made collectively and chores are shared among the family to promote responsibility and a sense of dignity. The women and children live in a supportive, comfortable and safe environment where they are encouraged to learn new skills, form new friendships and, above all, enjoy life.
WFN provides psychological counselling throughout Nepal to women and children who have suffered abuse. Since the beginning of the program over 1,500 women have received psychological counselling. WFN feels strongly about providing free counselling for women, especially for those who are underprivileged as it is the only way some women are able to deal with the trauma they have experienced and move on with their lives.
To increase the reach of our counselling program WFN has provides training in psychological counselling for women in rural areas of Nepal through the Training of Trainers strategy (see below). This program has been very important in reaching women in remote areas of Nepal.
Legal assistance programme
WFN provides legal assistance to women who have suffered violence or abuse but cannot get legal help by themselves. Our assistance may be in the form of advice, payment of court fees or active participation in the case.
Since 1988, WFN has given assistance to thousands of women and girls across Nepal. The legal assistance program remains one of WFN's busiest and most successful programs, with an average of 5 to 7 women visiting the office daily to seek legal advice or to arrange legal representation.
WFN runs two childcare centers in Kathmandu and Jhapa caring for over 100 children.
WFN works with many women who have fled their marital homes due to domestic violence and are left alone and unsupported and at further risk of abuse and violence. Single mothers either have to take their young children to work with them or leave them unattended. Many children are injured in work place accidents and children left unattended are targets for violence, sexual abuse and trafficking into the sex trade. The childcare centers provide a safe environment where women can leave their young children during the day when they go to work.
Established by WFN in 2000 the Maheela Textile Co-operative was created to empower at-risk women by training them in traditional Nepalese textile arts so that they can work to support themselves and their children. This textile community is coordinated by women rescued from violence or destitution and trained through WFN programs who are now self-sufficient and confident role models for their peers, families and communities.
Training and microcredit programmes
Extreme poverty pervades much of Nepal, and often hits women the hardest. By providing skill trainings to women, WFN is giving women a way to generate income and become economically independent. WFN organizes a number of training workshops and informal education courses throughout the Nepal. The subjects range from empowerment issues such as human rights and leadership to practical courses in farming, vetinary care, shop management and textile work.
WFN focuses on a “Training of Trainers” strategy where a small number of women are trained in Kathmandu and these women return to their districts to provide training for a large number of women.
Since 2013 WFN has organized a large scale microcredit and training program that provides both training and micro-credit loans to vulnerable women in their communities. The program will run for two years and service over 800 women, many of whom have been victims of domestic violence. The micro-credit program is run for groups of women in different districts and the group meets once or twice a month to discuss their financial situations and receive any necessary advice or training. WFN aims to support these women so they can successfully run their own businesses truly be in control of their lives.
WFN provides scholarships for women and children all over Nepal. These generally involve financial support to cover tuition fees, uniforms, school supplies and living costs. Such scholarships allow impoverished women and children access to educational and skills training opportunities they would otherwise be unable to avail of from child day-care centers and private primary schooling to university level education.
Non violent school
In Nepal, violent punishment in school is very common and can often result in children being hospitalised as well as suffering psychological trauma. We believe that teachers who use physical punishments are directly teaching their students that using physical force to get one’s way is acceptable. WFN believes children have the right to receive an education without being put at risk of violence. We feel this is especially important for children who have been rescued from violent situations. As a result, WFN has opened in a non-violent school in Kathmandu which disallows any sort of violent punishment.
As an organization that strives to protect women, we are politically active and act as advocates for women’s rights, applying pressure to the Government. We organize seminars, workshops, rallies and interactive programs on women’s rights. In cases of legal discrimination, our advocacy and lobbying of government bodies is ongoing. Twenty-two Nepali laws actively discriminate against women, and another 173 laws directly violate basic human rights. We raise awareness regarding each of these legal inequalities and put pressure on the government to create legislation that will reverse unjust, biased law.
Therefore we will use these donations for the following purposes
Thanks for your support,