Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal

by Women LEAD
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Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Empower 300 girls to become leaders in Nepal
Anshuya (2017 LEADer) with Barma (2018 LEADer)
Anshuya (2017 LEADer) with Barma (2018 LEADer)

Our year-long LEAD Course provides young women with the knowledge, support, skills, and opportunities to become leaders and changemakers within their societies. Each year, every participant is paired with a LEAD Course alumna mentor who provides individualized guidance and support to their mentee throughout the year.

This year, 2018 LEADer Barma was paired with 2017 LEADer Anshuya as her mentor. Anshuya has played a valuable role in Barma's life, especially in helping Barma build her confidence in living with a visual impairment.

“I’m very fortunate to have 2017 LEADer Anshuya as my mentor. She always has my back and is very understanding. Whenever I feel like I didn’t give my best in something, she cheers me up and because of her I feel constantly motivated to get out of my comfort zone. These days I feel better about myself and very confident.” - Barma

Mentoring has also been a valuable learning experience for Anshuya, teaching how to get along with someone with a completely different personality and bring out the best in her mentee Barma.

I choose to be a mentor so that I could provide moral support to my mentee, guide and help her in her various tasks and promote her self –development. Despite having completely different personalities, my mentee Barma and I have bonded over same hobbies. She is an introvert and shy so it’s difficult her to open up, but with me she is comfortable enough to share her strengths and weaknesses - Anshuya

Although the 2018 LEAD Course is coming to an end, Barma and Anshuya's relationship won't end here. Like so many of our previous mentor-mentee pairs, Barma and Anshuya have created a strong sisterly bond and plan to continue to support each other's dreams well into the future.

Thank you for helping young women like Barma and Anshuya to discover their leadership potential and be continuous sources of motivation for each other. 

We look forward to sharing more stories of transformation from our 2018 LEADers in the next report as they graduate and reflect on their year long journeys.

2018 LEADer Barma during the LEAD Course
2018 LEADer Barma during the LEAD Course

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Shristi, 2015 LEADer
Shristi, 2015 LEADer

We are so excited and grateful to announce that our project is now fully funded! Thanks to your generosity we have been able to empower 300 girls with the tools and skills they need to be the next generation of LEADers in Nepal.

Your contribution has supported the future of girls like Shristi, who after graduating from the LEAD course in 2015, now mentors 2016 LEADer Shweta and recently joined the Women LEAD staff team in February as our new Development Intern!

The long term engagement of our girls  is something we pride ourselves on at Women LEAD. When we asked Shristi why she loved being a part of our community she said that  ‘It feels so great to be around girls my own age who have the same passion as I do to work for the advancement of women in Nepal’. Shristi’s mentee Shweta adds that having a mentor who has been through the program has been a tremendous source of support for her ‘I feel like I can approach Shristi anytime, she will always be there for me.’

Empowered women, empower women. Your contribution has made it possible for us to give girls like Shristi the tools she needs to do just that.

But we’re not done yet! We’ve opened a new project at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-400-girls-and-boys-to-be-leaders-in-nepal/ to continue our work, this time focusing on bringing our leadership training to all girls and boys who want to build a better world where women leaders co-create the future.

Thank you for leading with us!

With Gratitude,

The Women LEAD Team

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Women LEAD Founder Claire Naylor (2nd from left)
Women LEAD Founder Claire Naylor (2nd from left)

This year at Women LEAD has been like no other. We began the year recovering from the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes, with progress further impeded by a five-month blockade and the ensuing fuel shortages. We rebuilt our office from the ground up after it suffered structural damage during the quakes and yet still we graduated 30 more young, strong, women LEADers from our program who have already gone on to train almost 400 youth across 15 middle schools and joined WLEAD as interns to help recruit and select the next cohort of LEADers. That’s why we are especially honored  to announce that this year our efforts have been recognised with a prestigious With and For Girls Award!

The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organizations working with and for girls. “Women LEAD Nepal is spearheading such an innovative program about a theme that is usually not considered important in the conversations about girls,” says Deeksha who managed the girls-led panel that decided the Asia & Pacific Region award recipients. “Women LEAD fitted well with our criteria of a grassroots, girl-led, girl-focused organization.”

One of the features of Women LEAD that makes us a truly exceptional organization is how invested and involved our girls continue to be, even years after completing our program. Our LEAD course might only be one year, but our girls are LEADers for life. They continue to co-create our programs, serve on our board and support Women LEAD as guest speakers, mentors and allies. When hearing that Women LEAD won the award, 2012 LEADer Sujata said she felt it was ‘‘A moment to be proud.” While Aastha, a 2015 LEADer, shared that  “The day I got to know that Women LEAD won the award I was so, so happy. I felt like my family together won it and that news made my day.”

Your support has not only led us to this monumental victory in our organization’s history but thanks to your contributions we are also over 90% of the way towards our project funding goal of $20,000!

Thank you for making 2016 truly a year to remember at Women LEAD, for being part of our family and for standing with us in our mission to ensure that women and girls in Nepal can lead alongside men.

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Pema
Pema

When Pema walked into the Women LEAD office on July 20th for her interview, she was filled with the same nervous jitters that filled most short-listed candidates vying for the limited spots in our rigorous, year-long LEAD Course. “My English skills are not so good, so even though I have had lots of practice with interviews, sometimes I cannot communicate myself,” she recalled. Despite her limited English skills, it soon became clear that Pema was the remarkable type of young women we look for.

During her interview, Pema talked about a Nepal where everyone—regardless of class, caste, and gender—is able to move forward and achieve his or her dreams. She described a Nepal that is financially stable where every citizen has access to quality education and healthcare. Good leaders, she said, did not simply work for their own benefit. “I am from a rural area and I have seen the situation of women there. I have seen how they struggle. I want to be a leader to help all the young women and girls in my community achieve their dreams,” she told her interviewers.

Pema was selected as one of thirty young women from the 1,500+ female high school seniors Women LEAD reached through our intensive outreach program and the 200 applications we received, the highest in our organization's history. Acceptance rate of just 15% aside, Pema's success is even more remarkable when you consider her family background. Pema hails from Humla, a remote and isolated region in the far west of Nepal, reachable only by walking for several days or infrequent, single-engine flights. Twelve months years ago, Pema made the treacherous 250 mile journey to Kathmandu to continue her education after receiving a scholarship from the Samaanta Foundation.

Pema has already shown her potential as an emerging leader in her community in Women LEAD’s two-week Leadership Institute. In each session, Women LEAD inculcates in our participants, or “LEADers,” the tools and skills they need to become changemakers in their communities. In our Changemaker activity—where we challenged pairs of LEADers to create the biggest impact they could with 200 rupees (roughly two dollars)—Pema and her partner decided to invest their money on school supplies for a small school boy. During a session on public speaking, Pema was the first to volunteer and give a two-minute speech in front of her peers. “Women LEAD Nepal is pushing myself to go beyond my limit and my comfort zone,” she said.

Pema’s Women LEAD journey has just begun. After the Leadership Institute ends this Friday, she will “pay it forward” by taking the knowledge and skills she has learned and empowering other girls and boys through a four-month School Leadership Program (SLP). Pema will spend over 150 hours in trainings, planning, and conducting sessions for the middle school students in her program. We’ll also help her develop her confidence and self-esteem and pair her up with both a mentor and a language tutor who will help her improve her English, which she has specifically requested.

Thank you for investing  in young women like Pema who will create an equal, more just Nepal.

Pema's public speaking
Pema's public speaking

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A year after Nepal’s devastating 7.8 earthquake, girls like Sujata, Reeti, Samikshya and Saniya—who led Women LEAD's relief efforts—prove why girls' voices are critical in the country's reconstruction process. Read our Communications and Programs Associate's reflections of that day.

In other news, Women LEAD ran a week-long Intercultural Leadership Workshop in Chitwan. This is the first time that Women LEAD led a leadership training for young women outside of the Kathmandu Valley.

In March, Women LEAD organized the second annual International Women’s Day 5K Fun Run. The Fun Run, open only to women and girls, was intended to let them “reclaim the streets” in a place where street harassment is common.

We're proud to announce that we are a Classy Awards Finalist! Out of 1,300 applicants, Women LEAD was selected as one of the 100 most innovative nonprofits and social enterprises of 2016!

Finally, your support has enabled alumni like Sujata to flourish. People often ask Sujata how Women LEAD changes Nepal. “You don’t go to the villages,” they tell her. For Sujata, the answer to this question is simple. Learn how 2012 LEADer Sujata plans to use the skills she learned at Nepal to change her community.

We are so grateful for your on-going support. Thank you!

 

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Organization Information

Women LEAD

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @womenleadnepal
Project Leader:
Athena Rayburn
Leesburg, VA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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