Written by Kerstin Sarow
The previous blog contextualized ‘social responsibility’ with collaboration and expansion of networks between like-minded organizations, concluding with the request for cooperation with central and municipal political makers to achieve sustainability. However, that is only one objective of the social aspects. Empowerment, equality, and equity of women are paramount, asserting the second main objective of the ‘social aspect’. Empowerment can only be achieved with education. Speaking with Nelson Mandela’s words: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Education is the first step for people to gain knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment, and skills they need to make this world a better place”(1).
Although the literacy rate has reached 79% in Nepal in 2018, only 60% of adult women compared to 91% of the male population were able to read and write. Statistics for the age group 15-24 looked more promising: 92% were literate, and although the gender gap has decreased, it stood at 3% in 2018(2).
The highlighted gender-dependent discrepancy underlines the need for better education for women, one of the core objectives of ‘Samsara Creation’. Group-specific workshops, talks, and informative events used to and will be regularly organized.
Seeing the chance to implement my knowledge in public health, and being the reason for volunteering at ‘Samsara Creation’, I developed a questionnaire centralizing personal and business questions as well as the topics of health and female hygiene. Focus group discussions with women, who supply handicrafts to the organization, revealed sparse knowledge on the subjects of female hygiene and human reproduction, which bears the cause of religion-anchored shunning and traditional treatment of women during their menstruation in society. Many females experienced isolation or ‘chhaupadi’, exclusion from any kind of cooking or kitchen chores, the ban from worshipping in temples, or any physical contact with males.
The women who participated in the focus-group session requested a workshop on that topic as well as self-examination to prevent breast cancer and information on food in context with diabetes-type-2 and cholesterol. Phobe acted as an interpreter and was a great help. Together with Derek, a volunteer from the USA, I delivered the workshop in a very relaxed atmosphere. After some moments of hesitation, the women asked questions and a lively discussion arose. The workshop was a big success and the women were very grateful for our time and sharing our knowledge.
However, wide circles of Nepal’s society are aware of the demand for education and introduced specially trained women through the scheme ‘Train the Trainer’, or freelance health instructors who can be scheduled to convey specific information.
(1) Ellis, P., 2019. Blog. Changing the world through education- how Nelson Mandela created the conditions for success [online]. Available from: https://blog.cambridgeinternational.org [Accessed 02. May 2022]
(2) The World Bank, 2021. Literacy rate Nepal [online]. Available from: https://data.worldbank.org [Accessed 02. May 2022].