Through a partnership with the Advocacy Project, NEFAD seeks to empower 40 women who have lost a family member to enforced disappearance to share their story through an advocacy quilt. This project responds to three key needs of families of the missing: It provides a way for the women to speak out against the crime of enforced disappearance, honor the memory of their missing husbands, and gain a marketable skill that can help them support their families.
During Nepal's civil war, over 1500 people were forcibly disappeared. For the surviving family members, the grief of not knowing the fate of their loved one is made worse by the poverty and stigma they face in their communities as a result. For many families, their disappeared father or husband was also the primary breadwinner. Women whose husbands were disappeared face additional social alienation due to their uncertain role as neither wives nor widows.
This project takes a victim-centered approach to transitional justice by giving wives of the disappeared the opportunity to speak out about their loss through advocacy quilting. In addition, training the women in embroidery also provides them with a marketable skill that they can put to use to earn a sustainable income. We have started two workshops for women in rural Bardiya, and we hope to continue supporting the work there and expand to other areas in Nepal.
AP's long history with Advocacy Quilts demonstrates that they are a powerful way for women to share their experiences with injustice and tragedy with a truly global audience. In addition to bringing Nepal's disappeared to the world's attention, the embroidery skills the women gain can be utilized for generating a sustainable income, helping to overcome the poverty that many families of the missing still face.