Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
Sitting down with Shyam Pokharel, director of SASANE, he spoke of the various challenges to the organization’s work of empowering women. Shyam explained the successes of one of their projects: they have provided paralegal training to survivors of sexual exploitation and those seeking to escape it. According to Shyam, a total of 120 women have gone through the training, which involves one month of classroom and 6 months of practical work. One challenging aspect of the program is that the women must have completed high school to enter into the training, since it is required for them to take their certification exam. Shyam explained that there is a lack of funding to help the girls complete high school, which acts as a barrier. The staff in the office was quiet, but they showed me various posters on the walls speaking of gender equality, trafficking laws, and signs of domestic abuse.
After a brief visit with Shyam and his staff, I visited three police stations where the women had just been set up to complete their practical training. At the first police station, I met two women of SASANE, who were seated outside of the building. According to a member of Shyam’s staff, these two women had only started working in the police station the day before. We went into the Women and Children’s building and the SASANE women were introduced to the officers there. They then resumed their position outside near the entrance, to help women file the complicated application forms to file a police report.
At the second police station, we saw a woman from SASANE sitting at a desk next to a female police officer. The woman showed me an application form for a police report, which she had helped a citizen to fill out. I was told the female police officer acts as a mentor to aid in the paralegal work done by the worker of SASANE. While the third police station did not have anyone from SASANE there, we were showed another completed application, filled out to help a citizen file a police report. These one-on-one sessions by the women of SASANE help local Nepali women to navigate the complicated legal system and feel more comfortable telling their stories and filing a police report.
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