Oct 7, 2016

The Power of Art for Awareness

After witnessing such life-altering change with our Female Friendly Space project, we knew our work with women and girls in Nepal had to continue.

As a result, Aura Freedom has launched our Outreach, Knowledge, Change project. Through this initiative, we are targeting gender-based violence and gender disparity with the most powerful tool there is – education.

The girls and women of these remote, impoverished communities endure unspeakable violence and discrimination every single day. Having always endured this burden, they were simply unaware that they do, indeed, have a choice. Through powerful, sensitive, and informative awareness sessions, Aura Freedom is helping them see that it doesn’t have to be this way.

That they have rights.

That they are worthy of respect.

That they are not alone.

The impact of these sentiments is not to be understated!

One tool we have harnessed in getting this message across is theatre. Aura Freedom has always believed in the power of using art to create awareness of social injustices and human rights abuses. Just last month, we hosted community-wide theatre performances for women, girls, boys, and men (photo below).

These performances shed light on violence against women and gender inequality, reaching over 2,000 people across the 5 communities we work in. They were so impactful that, realizing the trauma this violence inflicts upon young girls, school officials have already requested additional performances.

This is how change starts,

And none of it would be possible without our dedicated staff! Our Program Officer, Tola (photo below), is especially fierce. A lawyer by trade with a passion for justice, Tola is the driving force behind our project activities. She is dedicated, passionate, strong – and with her unwavering efforts, she is helping other women become catalysts for change themselves.

And that is what we like to call true sisterhood.

Theatre is a powerful way to increase awareness.
Theatre is a powerful way to increase awareness.
Tola is a passionate advocate for gender equality.
Tola is a passionate advocate for gender equality.
Women deserve to have their voices heard.
Women deserve to have their voices heard.
Damgade, one of 5 communities we work in.
Damgade, one of 5 communities we work in.
Aug 3, 2016

Site Assessment Complete

Shree Bhumimata is perched atop a mountain
Shree Bhumimata is perched atop a mountain

Our site assessment is now complete!

Aura Freedom, along with local partner Architecture Sans Frontières Nepal (Architecture Without Borders), has been hard at work evaluating the landscape and terrain of Shree Bhumimata Secondary School.

Since becoming destroyed by the earthquake of April 2015, Shree Bhumimata has been rendered both inaccessible and extremely dangerous for staff and students alike. While attempts have been hastily made to restore some classrooms so that local children may continue their education, these have been structurally unsound. Given both the frequency of seismic activity in Nepal and the type of land we are working with, anti-seismic construction of all buildings on site is essential.

This is where Architecture Without Borders comes in! For the next several months as the project is carried out, they will be providing invaluable assistance in the form of building design plans, ongoing supervision, and project monitoring to ensure these standards of building quality are met.

Aura Freedom has also enlisted the support of a solar company. Canadian company, Icarus Power Generation are lending their expertise as renewable energy, solar, and engineering consultants. Additionally, the company will also be contributing a custom solar power system to the school grounds. In a country that practices regular load-shedding, and therefore experiences frequent power outages, solar power is an ideal energy source for Nepal and, given its mountainous location, this school.

The vital nature of structurally sound, earthquake-resistant is paramount to this project. Providing these students – who come from the extremely marginalized community – with a safe space to receive their education not only affords them greater opportunities, it also benefits the entire local community

Aerial view of the school's mountainous location
Aerial view of the school's mountainous location
Damage to buildings are a major hazard to students
Damage to buildings are a major hazard to students
With a safe space to learn, children will thrive
With a safe space to learn, children will thrive
Jul 28, 2016

Renewed Hope for Nepal's Girls

Education can change the lives of young women.
Education can change the lives of young women.

In post-disaster settings, education is not the standard form of relief.

Then again, Aura Freedom has never been about adhering to the status quo. After all, it is only when the status quo is challenged that true progress is made.

After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, our Female Friendly Spaces (FFS) have done just that for countless women and girls.

In a time of incomparable suffering and despair, the FFS have been a place of refuge for these women. A place to feel comfortable and safe. A place to report violence and seek access to services. A place to learn new skills and become educated on their human and legal rights and the dangers of such cultural practices as child marriage, of which many of these women had been subjected to.

Since the opening of our very first FFS, women and girls have continued to open up to us about the violence and abuse they’d endured in silence for so long. Victims of trauma are now receiving counselling. Those in need of medical care or legal assistance are now gaining access to those services. Attitudes towards gender-based violence, child marriage, and equality are shifting.

Change is happening right before our eyes.

Take Anita, for instance. At 15 years old, Anita and her baby daughter (photo below) were rendered homeless by the earthquake, forcing them into a crowded displacement camp. Attending our FFS every day, Anita has gained critical knowledge on health, family planning, human rights, and gender-based violence, including the dangers of child marriage. She also participates in literacy classes and receives life skills training.

While child marriage was a reality for Anita, the awareness she has gained through the FFS workshops has empowered her to change that for her daughter and, in doing so, help break the cycle of poverty, inequality, and violence.

We are blown away and deeply moved by the dedication of these girls and women who have spent endless hours in our FFS. This has also contributed to an overall heightened sense of camaraderie and sisterhood among participants.

We have now seen firsthand that educating women and girls on their human rights empowers them to resist the long-standing societal norms of gender inequality and the resulting implications, including violence and harmful cultural practices.

And when women win, everyone wins.

We set up our FFS in the remotest of camps.
We set up our FFS in the remotest of camps.
Our FFS has been a source of education for Anita
Our FFS has been a source of education for Anita
New life skills empower women to make a living
New life skills empower women to make a living
Education & sisterhood are powerful against GBV
Education & sisterhood are powerful against GBV
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.