Feb 5, 2020

How Women LEAD Changed My Life

Sajju Presenting to Students at Women LEAD
Sajju Presenting to Students at Women LEAD

Since the day I stepped inside Women LEAD Nepal's doors in 2016, a life-time of opportunities has opened up to me.

As a 2016 LEADer, I was able to grow my leadership, public speaking, communication and other professional skills through Women LEAD's flagship 12-month program, the LEAD Course. The LEAD Course sessions also played a big role in moulding my personality, by giving me the confidence to express my opinions and stand up for what I believe in. 

The LEAD Course was only the start of my journey with Women LEAD. After the LEAD Course ended, I entered into Women LEAD's Alumni Community and was able to access an entirely new world of opportunities. I received the opportunity to mentor two LEADers which has given me the great responsibility of contributing to younger girls' leadership journeys, as well as the chance for me to grow my own leadership skills.

As an Alumni, I was also able to participate in the Sujata Baskota Changemaker Award. Through this initiative, my fellow alumni and I received a grant to implement our own community project called Naritwa to improve sexual and reproductive health knowledge and services in Mid West Nepal. My teammates and I travelled to a community in Surkhet in Karnali Province to support a health camp for women and conduct sessions on sexual and reproductive health for school students. The success we achieved through this project is one of my life's greatest achievements. It felt so great to see the smiles of women after they received the health services, some of whom had never accessed such services before.

Another amazing opportunity I received from Women LEAD Nepal was the chance to be part of the With and For Girls Collective Asia-Pacific Award Panel in 2017. Being one of the panellists, I got to interview 10 girl-led organizations decide which five of the organizations to award funding from the With and For Girls Collective. I also received the wonderful opportunity to represent the Asia-Pacific Award Panel at the With and For Girls Award Ceremony in London! This visit was a huge opportunity for me to experience being on a global platform and learn about the issues that girls are facing around the world. It inspired and comforted me to know that the whole world is fighting to realize girls rights and create a better world for girls.

Women LEAD has not only given me a wealth of opportunities but being involved in the organization has influenced how others in my community view me. At college, my classmates view me as a role model and look up to me due to my confidence and strong public speaking skills. I feel that I now have built up a solid set up skills to deal with a range of different people and help them to achieve their potential.

Women LEAD has helped me to learn how important it is to step back for others to step ahead, to care for others' growth and to find happiness in other people's achievements.I can proudly say that who I am today is the reflection of what Women LEAD has given me. 

Sajju with her Naritwa Project Team in Surkhet
Sajju with her Naritwa Project Team in Surkhet
Dec 31, 2019

2019 LEADers Apsana and Raisha's amazing bond!

2019 LEADers Apsana and Raisha
2019 LEADers Apsana and Raisha

Our year-long LEAD Course empowers thirty female class twelve students (LEADers)  through a deep dive into leadership. After the two-week-long Leadership Institute, our LEADers pair up and apply their leadership knowledge and skills to co-lead weekly workshops for Grade 9 boys and girls through use their knowledge and skills through the School Leadership Program (SLP) over a four-month period. 

 

This year, 2019 LEADers Raisha and Apsana were paired together to deliver the SLP. Both have already bonded well with each other and are actively encouraging each other to be empowered. 

 

“Being born as a single child I always craved for a sibling. Through the SLP, I was paired with Apsana. We bonded so easily from the beginning that it felt like I had met my long lost sister. Whether it be it talking about something professional or personal, Apsana is always there to listen to me. She is such a nice, humble, wise and assertive person, who is always full of energy. Leading the SLP together has been a wonderful experience and a process of growing and learning together.”- Raisha, 2019 LEADer

 

“Raisha is a hardworking and positive person. Every time, I tell her about any opportunities or challenges, she motivates me by saying that I can do it and that she believes me. There are times when I couldn't attend Women LEAD and SLP sessions, but she has always helped me to cover for me. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better co-LEADer than her. “ - Apsana, 2019 LEADer

 

Although it has only been two months since they were paired together, Apsana and Raisha have already created an amazing bonding and will continue to support each other in their SLP journey, as our other co-LEADer pair have from previous years. 

 

Raisha and Apsana are very grateful for the inspiration and support they can draw from each other. Raisha says,  “Apsana is a fierce person who is set on her journey of inspiring so many people. I am thankful for getting this amazing human as my co-leader, but more than co-leader I would call her my sister."

 

Stay tuned for more updates from our 2019/2020 LEAD Course in the coming months!




Links:

Dec 22, 2019

My Journey into Politics

Anukriti explaining party's view of fellow voters
Anukriti explaining party's view of fellow voters

As a teenager, politics always frustrated me and I never wanted to be a part of it in any way. However, after taking part in Women LEAD’s Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) in 2017, my perspective about politics changed.

 

Through the YWPLI,  I was introduced to basic concepts within politics. We learnt about democracy and what makes a state a good democracy, about Nepal, its history, politics, and the importance of keeping ourselves informed because history can be biased to benefit the people in power. YWPLI changed the way I viewed myself and the world surrounding me. It gave me a critical approach to analyzing things and be more empathetic towards others. 

 

One of the biggest learning experiences for me was being able to volunteer for a political party in which I saw potential. I had the opportunity to work in their headquarters and help them by distributing pamphlets and talking to voters. This helped me to learn how politics works on the ground in Nepal and made me more passionate to work in politics as my future career.

 

At the end of the YWPLI, my peers and I developed an art installation on women in politics.  We interviewed women from diverse parties and backgrounds on their motivations for entering politics, their experiences, and the hardships they faced. This experience opened my eyes to the disadvantages women face in mainstream politics due to their gender

and it put all the things we learned during the YWPLI into context. 

 

The major takeaway for me from the YWPLI was realizing how activism, law and policies go hand in hand. I realized that there is a huge difference between laws being written and being enforced. For example, although Nepal has very progressive laws these are often not correctly implemented and the benefits do not reach the people they are supposed to. 

 

Women in Nepal have enormous potential; all my YWPLI fellows are amazing young women striving to make a change and I am so very thankful to be able to have this opportunity to meet and be inspired, by them.

 

I am truly grateful for the enormous support, love, and opportunities that I have received from Women LEAD. I would not have been able to be where I am today- currently studying at Centre College in Kentucky USA- without participating in the YWPLI program.




Anukriti campaigning for votes
Anukriti campaigning for votes

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