A Word From the Ground: One Volunteer’s Stories of Nepal’s Human Rights Activism

21-12-2014

Stephanie Eger, one of GHRD’s volunteers, has spent 4 weeks travelling through Nepal on behalf of GHRD. The purpose of her trip was meeting and working alongside GHRD’s local partners in order to better understand their everyday realities and explore new avenues for the promotion of human rights through GHRD and its local grass-root partners.

Stephanie’s trip started in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, continuing on to Janakpur and other parts of the country. Throughout her journey, Stephanie met different local organizations and other activists involved in defending and promoting human rights. She met and had conversations with former victims of trafficking and torture, as well as others who suffer from numerous human rights related issues and live in remote areas hidden from the eyes of the tourists.

As part of her visit to Kathmandu, Stephanie worked at the office of the Forum for Protection of People’s Rights (PPR), one of GHRD’s partner organizations. Their work revolves primarily around the issues of human trafficking, torture and refugees. PPR also works with legal aid and have provided assistance in 17 cases of human trafficking, 48 cases of gender-based violence and 10 cases of torture this past year alone. Other issues that PPR works on include child marriages, racial discrimination, violence and the such. One of the ways they address these problems is also work with through raising awareness and hosting seminars on these issues.  All of these topics are closely related to the work that GHRD does in Nepal and other South Asian countries.

In Janakpur Stephanie worked at the office of the Village Development Foundation (VDF). Their work mainly revolves around socio-economic empowerment of disadvantaged and  marginalized communities. Special attention is paid to women and children the two vulnerable groups that have less access to income, legal rights, skill development, education and health facilities. Through watch groups in different parts of Janakpur, VDF raises awareness of the basic human and child rights.  The objective of the formation of such groups is to monitor the practices of child marriages, domestic violence and untouchability practices. Through their work watch groups empower these people to take action against perpetrators, instead of silently accepting their fate. 

Stephanie, impressed by the work of VDF and the villages that she had visited, donated a sewing machine to the women of Village Development Committee of Nagarain. This simple act of kindness will empower the women in the villages to become more financially independent. VDF managed to provide a 3-month training to the Nagarain women in order to teach them to use the machine properly.   

Stephanie as a degree in International Relations and Public International and European Union law from the University of Amsterdam. She is currently working at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

During her visit to Nepal, Stephanie has blogged extensively about her experiences to bring public attention to what is happening in that beautiful country. You can read more about both the work she did and  the cultural differences she encountered here: http://stephanieinnepal.wordpress.com/

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