Empower Dalit Women of Nepal
175 Richdale Ave 308
Eva Kasell, Albert Silliman, Cindy Barett, Vidya Karunakaran, Walter Kasell
Empower Dalit Women of Nepal enables rural Dalit women repressed by caste and gender to claim their rights and to live in dignity.
EDWON is closely affiliated with ADWAN, our Nepalese sister organization. EDWON raises funds for ADWAN, who leads and carries out the programs. ADWAN is a registered NGO in Nepal. Addressing the challenges faced by Dalit women in rural Nepal requires tackling the root problems of caste discrimination and gender, disempowerment and income inequality. Solutions must focus on giving rural Dalit women opportunities to determine their own economic livelihoods. Because financial services are lacking in rural communities, a key aspect of EDWON's approach to women's empowerment is to organize women into savings and loan groups to help them start small income generating initiatives, usually based on agriculture. EDWON promotes change by giving women tools to become agents of change. Rather than "solving problems," we enable people to improve their own lives and claim their inalienable human rights through social and economic empowerment.
EDWON's programs are based on women's empowerment groups, developing leadership and encouraging women of different castes to work together. Reaching out to the non-Dalit community is a unique approach that deliberately aims to be inclusive and human rights-based.
EDWON's groups help form bonds and friendships across caste divisions. Through growing solidarity, women begin to alter their learned behavior with regards to caste and "untouchability." Internal attitudes and behavior of mutual support spread to the families and eventually permeate the entire community. The "REAL Change (Rights, Education, Action, Livelihood)" Program aims to build confidence and solidarity. Savings and loan activities and non-formal education give women the means to build small enterprises. By giving the women insight into social forces EDWON encourages the ability to act collectively for change. The "Take Charge" Program is a loosely structured program that builds on the achievements of the REAL Change Program. Leadership training responds to the women's own initiatives and helps them develop sustainable livelihood by applying for grants, skills training and loans from local NGOs and agencies. The program also offers continued support for women's actions for social change in their communities. In addition EDWON conducts children's programs to enable women to educate their children, especially their culturally disadvantaged daughters: a uniform stipend program, a sponsorship program for girls, and a fund for girls' higher education.