President’s Foreward on Young Women Leaders by Laxmi Ghalan
The gender and sexual minority community in Nepal are bound to live their lives being invisible and excluded from every possible narrative
We have been deprived from something as basic as our fundamental rights that are easily accessed by the general public, even those who are minorities of different categories. The educational scenario is in no way different and LGBTI individuals have been denied of education, been forced to quit their academics because of constant bullying, harassment and sometimes even been made to dropout because of pressure and humiliation from the teachers, administration and peer circle. The Young Women Leaders project was designed to eliminate such problems faced by LGBTI individuals and end educational inequity through women leadership. The YWL project has mobilized the youth and has melded the minds of young people in colleges through awareness programs. The perception of students towards LGBTI community has been changed and shifted in a positive direction. Positive reformation and changes will only be brought when the youth are well aware, sensitized and educated about the LGBTI issues. LGBTI Journey of Young Women Leaders topics should not remain a taboo, LGBTI people should not be stigmatized and this project has helped to rid the LGBTI community of the misconceptions and judgements. The project has expanded communication and built networking of the organization and the Young Women Leaders. This project has expanded the circle and approach of the organization and has helped to reach out to more individuals, especially those who do not belong to the gender and sexual minority community. The acceptance and tolerance of LGBTI community and individuals in academia has been encouraged and the pace of positive change is undeniably accelerated. Young Women Leaders has taken a form of exemplary and prolific program that has evoked inspiration, righteousness and faith among people. This book lets on the journey of the young women leaders, the vision of the project, the achievements and the challenges. Young women have taken ownership of the program and used the platform for uplifting and rectifying the situation of LGBTI in terms of accessing education fairly. We can definitely look forward to more collaboration and joint efforts with other organizations, activists and so on. In a nutshell, the YWL project has challenged the scenario of LGBTI violence, discrimination in schools and colleges and has been a successful change-making campaign that secured LGBTI friendly environment and I look forward to see how this book further raises awareness and alters mindset in a constructive manner. Laxmi Ghalan President Mitini Nepal
For the Young Women Leaders project, 10 enthusiastic, willing and determined young women were chosen to lead a movement with the motto of “Equal Education For All”. The group of young women leaders which mostly comprised of cisgendered and heterosexual individuals were taught about the LGBTI community. They were exposed to important terminologies and abbreviations relating to the LGBTI, the issues, problems, real stories faced by real survivors, facts about the community, etc.
Albeit the young women were oblivious and unaware about the existence of LGBTI and their problems in the past, they are now activists who passionately advocate for the education rights of the gender and sexual minorities community. Young women leaders have been groomed and elevated in their skills, personalities, abilities as a part of the project and have been actively engaged in lobby advocacy and breaking the widely believed myths and false information about the LGBTI community and working to create feasible access and approach of education to LGBTI individuals, and overall safer environment for LGBTI in academia.
The YWL project was designed with the motive of attaining equal education for the LGBTI community. It is a known fact that education is not very accessible to LGBTI individuals and that the members of the LGBTI community are deprived of educational rights merely because of their sexual orientation and gender identities. The goal of the project was to open up and expand the possibilities of easy education to LGBTI and to mitigate the level and/or intensity of problems, hindrances faced in the process of attaining education. Another objective was to enhance the development of young women leader’s leadership.
YWL has successfully organized awareness programs at various colleges in order to disseminate information about the LGBTI community and sensitize people towards the community. After YWL conducted orientation programs, various colleges vowed to provide scholarships to LGBTI individuals at Mitini Nepal’s referral. Likewise, many colleges have committed and certified for LGBTI friendly environment within their institutions which is a big accomplishment for the entire community. These sorts of commitments and cooperation help to strive further in deconstructing society and general public’s opinion and ideas towards the LGBTI community and to ensure a better and safer existence of the LGBTI.
Message from a Young Women Leaders Mentor, Meena Sharma
South Asian Young Women Leadership and Mentoring (SAYWLM) initiatives was the pilot project designed by Mitini Nepal, CREA and GFW. The overarching goal was to create a cadre of young women leaders (YWLs) in Nepal, Bangladesh and India with enhanced conceptual clarity, strategic vision, and organizing capacity to strengthen the organizations and build movements, and who will catalyze transformation of the position of other young women in their communities and regions. Under this initiative, as a Mentor, I enjoyed working closely with the team of ten strong women from ten organizations. Mitini Nepal was one of the pioneer organization who took courage to accept the challenge of this project. Working with Mitini team and especially with Samikshya (YWL) was inspiring. I as a mentor too learned a lot from the organization and the agenda Mitini is leading. I can see the shift within the YWL and the organization, using a multipronged approach to mobilize youth and the key relevant stakeholders. I enjoyed my time and the work with Mitini, there are many instances, where I was touched, moved and inspired by the work of the team. I am confident that as always, Mitini will continue to contribute to the equality movement, beyond the project cycle. Wishing you all the very best!! –Meena Sharma South Asian Young Women Leader Mentor, Nepal
Message from Sadhana Thapa, Academic Program Director at Orient College
One human has to have a capacity to accept and respect the existence of another human regardless caste, class, race and any gender identity. Gender and sexual minority group (LGBTI) in the world are going through several
challenges regarding acceptance and respect. Equal opportunities based on their capacity, respect and value the individuality, collaboration for change are the necessary steps to be taken to grow this community in a socially accepted way. And as an academic institution we are committed to open the doors for sexual and gender minority community to make our society more prosperous. Let’s work hand in hand for change! –Sadhana Thapa Academic Program Director Orient College of Higher Education’