Everyone has creativity within them; it’s just the matter of unlocking that creativity- Christina Cantors

Pensive me !!!

Pensive me !!!

While I was growing up, I meagerly thought of being an “engineer”. Either we have it in our own dreams that we decide who we are going to be in future or have that role model in our family who would shape our dream. For me, I couldn’t find a single female role model in technology in my entire family. My parents always pursued me for medicine as they usually do in our part of world but I had my other plans.  Ever since I remember I wanted to fly high in the clear blue sky. Despite constant family pressure, my dream of becoming a pilot propelled me to choose math instead of biology in my high school. However, pretty soon I had the cognizance of bitter reality of huge financial requirement to study pilot. This prompted me to opt for detour. I wanted my dream to rest for a while as the fondness of being pilot never vanished from my mind. I gave myself a second thought  regarding my career and  started questioning  myself why  did  I have a thirst for technology? Honestly, I’m not so sure of any particular answer but when I dug deeper, I found my answer. I chose engineering because I had that true fondness for airplanes flying high in the sky. I always wondered how they landed at exact place where they want to, meaning how did they communicate in this process of navigation.

Women in technology !!!

Women in technology !!!

Department of telecommunication engineering

Department of telecommunication engineering

This motivated me to pursue my undergraduate studies in telecommunication engineering in my neighboring country. To be surprised, I was the only international female student in my department. When you are a woman engineer, most people have some kind of opinion ready for you. Brave, genius and man-ish are among the many labels that you get during this journey. Some even condemn for it. I never understood these remarks, but since females are scarce in engineering, people believe that there must be some special reason that I was pursuing it. No wonders many of my Nepalese friends who were in the same city studying nursing often asked my motivation for engineering. They too might have some sort of unspoken aforementioned label for me. However, my answer to them would be nothing. I never thought of explaining my dreams to every other person. As it is said that dreams are personal and so was mine.

Young women in technology !!!

Young women in technology !!!

Debunking myth: Engineers do have fun !!!

Debunking myth: Engineers do have fun !!!

Studying various subjects in four year duration was totally challenging but exciting as well. Subjects like Micro wave and radar, Satellite communication, Optical communication networking, Computer communication networking, Digital signal processing and algorithms, Network security etc allured me the most.  Life wasn’t easy in an alien land. But I had always been blessed with my caring and supportive siblings who were always there for me in times of need. Initially, I felt left out in terms of gender and nationality but as soon as I found my space, It felt like next home to me. What inspired me during those days were young women of different departments from the various states of India doing remarkable  and excelling academically.

Connecting Women in Technology ful logo_thumbSeveral studies on women in technology have shown that a lack of support for women to get into these fields is a major cause of low interest. Well the studies have also suggested that young women are unable to find strong female role models who encourage them to pursue stem majors. Meanwhile, academicians and professors in this field of technology if are female, will act as propelling factor to choose ones career in the same field.


Young women of our generation are well exposed with technological advancement. If we look at the global instances, they have even marveled it. Regardless of the various technological advancements women have achieved in the past decade, bitter reality is that, the world of technology has always been dominated by men. Amidst all these shades, a silver lining is seen in the form of overwhelming popularity of women in technology over the last few years.

Women in Front line !!!

Women in Front line !!!

Does this popularity end the stereotypes for women who aim to pursue a technology-based occupation? I am sure it doesn’t.  Because of these gender stereotypes, young women of today are reluctant to join field of technology. However, there are success stories to share and learn from, women have been able to accomplish great technological advancements and maintain high positions in technology-related careers. Ada Lovelace, designer of algorithm of the first computer and have transformed to the various systems we have today, Henrietta Swan Leavitt joined the Harvard “computers”, a group of women engaged in the making of astronomical data at Harvard. Furthermore, there are many more women’s CEO viz Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Leila Janah of Sama Group. Women as vice presidents Cindy Gates of Microsoft, Kim Stevenson of Intel, Cindy Mackenzie of Fox entertainment are to name few among many others. However, this is so small figure in this vast world of technology.


Few months ago, the world celebrated 20th anniversary of Beijing conference. For those who are unaware of this conference, please view previous posts of this blog or google it immediately. Women in educations and training has been identified has key area of concern by Beijing conference in 1995 in advancing gender equality and women empowerment. Women should enter these men dominated fields and area  in advancing gender equality. The era of today is the era of technology and networking, to be specific social networking. If women have access to these technology spaces, they can create women friendly technology. For examples, technology can be used to combat violence against women by creating safety mobile applications and other technology for advocacy of women’s right issues. These were the information shared by my siblings who attended the 20th review of this amazing conference. I learnt tons from her.

Technology : A gender Issue

Technology : A gender Issue

As for me, technology was never a gender issue, it was my dream. Now with the knowledge regarding gender and observing the existing differences from my surrounding, I can see how it is and should be a gender issue. The impact it can have in the entire world and lives of women across the world is humongous. So, it has been imperative for young women like us to enter these so called forbidden spaces and to create our own space. To sum up,  let me quote my favorite singer Ms. Cyrus and her song CLIMB to all the other young women who are aspiring to land in the field of technology. Girls it’s tough but believe me it’s worth it!!!

Graduation !!!

Graduation !!!



I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta  keep my head held high

Read more: Miley Cyrus – The Climb Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Written By: Ms. Swikriti Thapa, Ms. Thapa is a Telecommunication Engineer.

Edited by: Ms. Smriti Thapa


Sneha Acharya: A researcher willing to fight for her dreams! 

Sneha Acharya: A researcher willing to fight for her dreams!

Sneha Acha25791199_10214090432990724_5625962460777020986_orya is currently working as a lecturer in Nepal Institute of Health Sciences, Jorpati. With a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Kathmandu University, Ms. Acharya used her brilliant mind to successively secure the scholarship provided by ASEAN Hub, with which she received her Master in Science specializing in the field of Epidemiology, from Prince Songkla University. She has been involved in several research works, and currently mentors students of medical, nursing and public health sectors on Research and Data analysis!

  1. Have you always wanted to pursue a career in the health sector? What/Who was your inspiration to enter into this field?

Ans: I always had a dream to pursue a career in the field of health. I wanted to work closely with human beings in general. Ever since I was a child I had a certain fascination with white coats and medical service providers. While I was young, at the age of 12-13 years, my mother became sick and while taking care of her I came to realize that human life is precious and people play a very important role in taking care of the entire population.

  1. You received your bachelor’s in nursing but then switched to the field of epidemiology. What made you want to make such a switch?

Ans: Honestly speaking, I had never thought of making this switch but all of a when I was working after completing my bachelor’s, I stared developing an interest towards research. I came to understand that research is something that makes you independent, innovative and works as a change agent. Research challenges you to discover things that others deem unimaginable. The challenge, innovation and capacity of making a change in the existing theories are the major aspects of research that made me switch from nursing to epidemiology. Further I would like to state that I have not completely left my nursing roots behind, but I have empowered myself, as well and expanded my knowledge and understanding of research through Epidemiology which I can always integrate with Nursing and work for its betterment in the future.

  1. There are not very Nepalese women current involved in STEM (Science/Technology/English/Math). It surely must have been very difficult to get people to take you seriously and believe in you. Could you share some of the major obstacles you had to overcome during the process of starting up? How many of these obstacles do you think you had to face just because you were a female?

Ans: Certainly, there are always several hurdles while you are fighting for a change or while you are trying to separate yourself from the norm. There were some life changing obstacles that I had to face while starting my career. For me one of the most difficult aspects was convincing the people near and dear to me that a girl need not be married with a man and bear children in order to “well settled.” I was raised in a Brahmin family, where no one ever dreamed of going against family’s decisions.  However, I was and still am a rebel. I knew I was going to bring down these walls of restrictions. I left my hometown to life in the city and decided to try and make it on my own by living life according to my own terms. It was difficult finding a job, and got rejected by nursing colleges many times. There was a time when I was almost out of money!  I believe most of the struggles that I have had to face in my life is just because I am a female. Being a female, it was considered “wrong” when I decided to start a job, being a female I was hardly supported in my decision of not getting married and exploring my different abilities and potentials!

  1. What changes do you think should happen in order to make the field of epidemiology and research to make it more accessible and approachable to other young women?

Ans: Well, I must say that getting involved in research is something thing that needs a lot motivation. If there is something that drives you, then you will be fascinated with research and its bodies. However, in Nepal we are just starting to germinate in the field of research. Thus, we can empower young women that have this thirst with the research tools, materials, and trainings related to research. Moreover, it is important to develop insight about the importance of research in this era and the role of a woman as researcher.

  1. Are you working on any current research projects or any upcoming projects that might look into some problems in relation to SRHR?

Ans: I have been working on several individual research activities. I can’t stop myself from doing research and studies. Every single day, no matter how busy is my day but I manage time to go through some interesting papers and get the idea for the new study. Currently, I am working on a study about antibiotic resistance and public awareness about it. Moreover, I am working on sexuality of adolescents, problems they are facing and the impact of internet on their sexuality.

  1. What advice can you give to other young women who would like to bring a change but simply do not know how?

Ans: I believe that women have lots of strength within themselves. What matters is how and when you will be able to find that strength. Try to believe in yourselves and never give up in your dreams. You will be successful when you are able to make walls from the bricks thrown at you. So, when someone tries to pull you down or when you are asked to give up then turn a deaf ear towards them and continue with the journey that you have decided on. Actions will always speak louder than words. So start doing, not just waiting for the time to come!

Sneha, you are so amazing! It is the first time that YWFC has had the opportunity of witnessing the wheels turn in the brain of a researcher, that too of such a fantastic female! We at YWFC wish you all the very best in your future endeavours! We hope you will always be able to prove those that discourage you wrong, and that you will use your works to empower young women, break the glass ceilings and shatter all the boundaries constructed by society!

Fantastic Feminist: An Odyssey of Self Reliance and Resilience!

Women are capable of so much, the sky is the limit! It’s time to shine the spotlight on some of these wonderful young female role models, who are making a name for themselves through sheer dedication and hard work! This is the reason why we have decided to highlight many amazing stories of self reliance and resilience every week.

This week we are featuring Miss Prarthana Saakha, a core member of our own Young 22789182_2031942520369137_8761233154591176688_nWomen for Change. By the young age of twenty – two year, Miss Saakha has recently received her BBA degree from Kathmandu College of Management. She is one of the founders of Helmets Nepal, established in 2015. It started as a small startup at home, and has grown to be the biggest showroom for automobile after sales products in Nepal after just one and a half years! The team at Helmets Nepal now consists of 18 young and enthusiastic members. Besides entrepreneurship, Miss Saakha also believes that it is her duty to inspire and uplift young women. She was awarded the Women Leadership Award 2017 endorsed by CMO Asia, and her PRAYAS (Preventing Road Accidents by Youth Awareness on Safety) was one of the winners of the EmpowHER program conducted by the Ujyalo Foundation!

We at YWFC asked Miss Saakha some questions about her journey and wanted to know her inspiration that helped in overcoming all the obstacles and breaking the glass ceiling

 You’re being recognized all over the valley as a young female entrepreneur, a feat we rarely get to witness. It surely must have been very difficult. Could you share some of the major obstacles you had to overcome during the process of starting up? How many of these obstacles do you think you had to face just because you were a female?

One of the major obstacles for me was my age. When we started our company, my partner and I were both doing our Bachelor’s. We were quite young, while the industry that we’re working in is full of very experienced, and older individuals. People mistook our young age for a lack of credibility. Even registering our company was so difficult! Because we were so young, our parents also showed little faith in our abilities. They thought we were too young to start our own business. Our teachers in college didn’t believe that we had to go to meetings after classes were over. There were very few people who supported us during the beginning.

The automobile industry is a totally male dominated one, so as a female I had to face a lot more hardships in comparison to my male partner. When I went to buy the merchandise at wholesale shops, they would not even let me buy the goods! They would make fun of me, or raise the price of the goods at an excessive rate. They told me to get my boss to buy the merchandise. So I had to let my male partner handle all buying of goods till I had studies about the merchandise and was able to convince the dealers with the amount of knowledge I had amassed.

What has been your source of inspiration at times when you simply felt like giving up?

 When I felt like giving up, I kept reminding myself of the one dream I had, the bigger picture. I had to make my parents proud. So whenever I felt low, I would imagine the smile I would get to see on my parents faces when all my hard work would pay off!

What changes do you think should happen in order to make the field of entrepreneurship more accessible and approachable to other young women?

We need more role models in the field of entrepreneurship. Usually we only see males at the top. Once girls see females at the highest position, then they’ll believe that they too will be able to make it in the field. So we need to design a program where we as role models ourselves approach young women and try and inspire them to dream big and believe in themselves.

You’ve recently been appointed a position in the core group of Young Women for Change. What made you want to be part of the team? What can we expect from you in the context of activities conducted by YWFC?

There are so many trivial things that limit the potential of women. Things that we have to face every day. For example, my curfew is 6 pm whereas my partner can go home at any time. This is reducing the number of hours that are available for me to work and reach my goal. I’ve realized that unless I stand up for myself and change my own attitude, no one else will believe in me. I need to believe in myself and my potential. I need to find passion and meaning in my work, then I’ll be able to convince those around me to respect my wishes and let me have my freedom, freedom in relation to my choices whether it be in or out of the workplace.I think YWFC is a perfect platform for me to reach out to those girls that have a vision, but are unable to implement it due to some unsaid obstacles. I would like to be able to provide a platform for women to be open and share their difficulties, so that we can target each of the obstacles one by one and slowly remove the hindrance. Whatever we do, I believe we have to start at the roots and work our way up.

Who is your role model for entrepreneurship?

My female idol is current CEO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg! Her views on women leadership inspire me. Her fight is not just for equality, she also wants women to own up and take action as leaders. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “We need to learn to sit at the table, not at the corners of the room.”

What advice can you give to other young women who would like to bring a change but simply do not know how?

 For those young women who would like to bring the change: Dream big, have a greater vision. Dream about being the CEO of a multinational company or leading an amazing impact project, simply dream as big as you can, and then work for it! We are all capable of achieving our heart’s desire. You need to challenge yourself and strive to achieve something greater than yourself.


In this our short interaction with Ms. Sakka we learnt many things from her story of self reliance and resilience. This is not only inspiring to us at YWFC but to many young women out there. She is an exemplary female, passionate and amazing in the work that she does, and we hope she continues to inspire other young women to break the glass ceilings, push the boundaries, enter the forbidden spaces and create a more gender just world for the next generation of young women  !!


By Editor: Anjila Thapa




“Young Women Caucus” : Young Women Consultation on Beijing +20

After several weeks of intense planning & preparation and short-listing & selection of participants, the long awaited consultation program – Young Women Caucus, A historic moment of gathering of young women from diverse sectors for the consultation on Beijing +20 was finally held on 31st January 2015 at Alfa Beta Complex in Kathmandu. It is was the first phase of the project ‘Young Women For Change ‘which  is a project organised  by Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON) and is funded by International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)  an organisation  based in USA which works for advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women . It also helps to prepare future advocates across the globe by providing advocacy training called as Advocacy in Practice(AiP). This project was a follow up grant provided to AiP attendee Ms.Smriti Thapa , (Project Coordinator -“Young Women for Change”, Youth champion-“Asia safe Abortion Partnership” and Young Midwife Coordinator -” MIDSON”). The AiP training took place prior to Asia Pacific conference on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment recently held in Bangkok which was a regional review of Beijing +20.

Project Description.

Project Description.

The project aims to build an important platform to bring together youth women activists, organizations and other diverse stakeholders, including government representatives at national level to discuss on the key issues of young women that need to be addressed in the international discussions. The Caucus aimed to facilitate the engagement of young women in Nepal in the Beijing +20 process, and in turn aims to strengthen Nepal’s positions on sexual and reproductive health and rights at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Around 50 young women, men who believed in gender equality and people of different sexual orientation and gender identities participated in the day long consultation program and discussed on various pressing issues concerning Nepalese young women so as to come up with appropriate  recommendations.

The first half of the program was focused in providing the overview of the project, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and how it has been addressed globally over the past 20 years followed by an overview of Beijing conference and its twelve areas of concern for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. Furthermore, in the first half we also had Beijing +20 review: How it works and we can influence?. The members of the facilitation team were Prof. Kiran Bajrachraya, President of MIDOSN, Ms. Smriti Thapa, Mr. Babu Ram Pant, Ms.Romi Giri and Ms.Ruby Shakya.


Ms.Ruby Shakya

Prof. Kiran Bajrachraya


Ms.Romi Giri


Mr.Babu Ram Pant

The Caucus was successful in being able to engage young students, young women activists and young professionals from different backgrounds and fields of study. During the second half of the caucus, With the thematic question – What are major issues of SRHR of young women in Nepal? the participants brainstormed to come up with several pertinent issues that needed immediate attention from the government and the concerned stakeholders. The issues raised by the participants were then categorized under the following six major areas of concern:

  1. Health services
  2. Comprehensive Sexuality Education
  3. Structural barrier / Decision making process and Participation.
  4. SRHR of differently able young women and Key affected young women (Sex workers, drug users, transgender, HIV/AIDS affected).
  5. Gender Based Discrimination & Violence against Women.
  6. Harmful traditional Practices

After sorting out the above six major areas, same number of parallel group sessions were conducted to discuss the achievements, challenges and gaps for improving the SRHR young women in Nepal under each of the above categories so as to provide appropriate recommendations trying to find it’s interlinks with twelve areas of Beijing platform for Action (BPFA). Advisory team of the project is currently working on the recommendations from the participants to prepare a Young Women’s Position Paper in SRHR which will be put forward to the key stake holders over a series of consultation meetings. Young Women for Change’s advisory team is also planning to put forward the position paper to the government delegation and members of Civil Society Organization (CSO) who will be attending 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. We shall  also be sharing our position paper in next blog to come.



Busy in group work.

Busy in group work.

Amazing Advisory Team..!!

Amazing Advisory Team..!!

Sincere request you to keep following our blog and share us your stories and experiences in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), advocacy. We are planning to feature young women and their journey to change. You can even send us your small write up regarding your experience in participating in our caucus

Please email us at

By: Ms. Smriti Thapa and Mr. Sudish Niraula


Why play sports? One might say “to get some good exercise” while some might say “To have fun”. That’s all true. But there’s more. In fact, there are many more girls who play sports to achieve a lot more than just being

Sports have been one of the most important socio-cultural learning experiences for boys and men for many years. And no doubt those same benefits should be afforded to our daughters too. But, have you ever pondered how many girls do you see playing in neighborhood, local play grounds? Do you actually see them playing? Have you ever realized that sports are equally important for girls?

One of the major hindrances are the cultural reasons which prohibit a girl even just to outdoor space ignited with discouragement from school, parents and inadequate  facilities, consequently creating an illusion that sports are definitely not for women and girls. The strong myths about girls ought not to look muscular or sporty is also one of the contributing factors for leaving them behind in the arena of sports. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes and obviously everyone marking their words, “Look! What a shame, that girl is playing football” which makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports. Because of all this reasons we are not been able to express the love and interest for the games.blogSunaGirls-672x372

I still vividly remember, when I was a kid even I was not allowed to play the games or 536190_10152714566700608_767011286_ninvolve in sports just because I was a girl. Although, I wanted to play outdoor and explore I was always kept indoor with dolls and a sister to play with. And what I got to play was those “girly games” which I liked but I always wanted something more. Seeing my love for just a football match on TV, my mom gifted me a football on my birthday when I was 13 which left me with sheer happiness. I had very few friends who played football with me but my sister and my pet dog always accompanied me. I then continued my passion for football and played during my school days, high school and I still play at my college. Playing football doesn’t make me shameful. It gives me intense pleasure, happiness and inspires me to achieve goals.

Studies have shown that girls who are involved in sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression. Evidences also highlight that these girls and women have a more positive body image and experience higher state of psychological well-being than those who do not play sports.  But, people of our country are not well acquainted with all these consequences. Rather we find increased drop outs because any sport require a proper place to participate and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, this means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away. And if there isn’t a safe option like carpooling with other families, the only option for a girl and her family may be to stay home.

Should we stop our girls by showing all these problems? Or should we give them opportunities or facilities and let them involve in the sports and help them build confidence, self-esteem and teach them the importance of team work, leadership. Sports participation may meet the development need of adolescent girls and even encourage them to achieve new horizon and wisdom filled experiences.

However, I feel that the sole motto that every player must follow is that “Play for fun”! Don’t worry about excelling the game, just participate, as playing is more important than winning. As being a sport lover, I just want to say that girls should try to know the real inner self and not just holding back and no doubt the real beauty will be reflected in one’s confidence. There will definitely be odds in your way and whatever others say, you should have the strong will in your heart, which you should play with. Those inspirations from players, that hard work and team work during the games helped me gain confidence as I knew that I can practice, improve and achieve my goals. It has certainly helped me to lessen my stress and feel a lot happier and healthier.

It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life!!! Cheers!!! GirlPower-journee-de-la-femme


Written By: Romina Pant

Edited by: Elisha Joshi and Insha Pun


Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Since my early childhood, I had this greatest fascination for nature, its beauty and natural images (3)habitat. This duly propelled my study and exposure in Environmental studies. However, my growing interest for wildlife became substantial since my recent field visit to National Parks of Western Nepal. Coincidentally, this year’s theme for World Environment Day is “Go Wild for Life”.

There is no doubt  that wildlife is mother nature’s greatest treasure which not only helps in maintaining the ecological balance but it also sum up the economic, recreational and aesthetic value. As human population has grown, the subsequent expansion in agriculture area, settlement area and development activities have led to decrease in wildlife and its habitat. The greedy men for one’s pleasure and access to variety of sea foods, leather goods, timbers, medicinal ingredients and textiles have played vital role in its booming illegal trade in wildlife products and eroding earth’s precious biodiversity.

It seems to be likes ages when human impedance was minimum and wildlife was maximum resulting in no issues with respect to conservation and wildlife protection. At present, this scenario seems to be quite a distant dream to achieve.

In Nepal, poaching and illicit trade of wildlife, particularly comprising Asian big cats, and horn of one horned Rhinoceros has been a major concern. In response to which NTNC, WWF and other organizations with the help of Nepalese Government is taking major initiative to close down trade routes and transit markets  for illegal wildlife by including improved stronger policies, awareness campaigns, investments in community conservation and law enforcement have  definitely drawn some silver linings. As a result, anti-poaching units (APUs) were formed in Chitwan National Park (CNP) and Bardia National Park (BNP) to reduce the level of poaching of tigers and rhinos. Nepal is also signatory and party to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and had in place all legal and institutional instruments to address wildlife trade issues.

But, let me highlight the issues of wildlife trade goes beyond the border of one single country. Hence, it is very important to have effective cross border cooperation and collaboration which will slow the issues in coming days.

The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade now more than ever, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains. In 2011, ivory estimated to weigh more than 23 metric tons was seized in the 13 largest seizures of illegal ivory. Poaching definitely threatens the last of our wild tigers that just numbers around 3,890. Nevertheless, Nepal has also been influenced by this booming market. Corruption, toothless laws, weak judicial systems and light sentence have reverberation on illegal trades which ultimately threatens our endangered flora and fauna.

The more I ponder on the current scenario, the more frustrated I become as I our skills, knowledge, equipments and power all draining. Every day, we hear more and more crime stories and it may cause possible extinction of the wild life in near future. We are responsible to change the situation in coming days with changing the habit of our choices. Obviously, we know that poaching is senseless activity fueled by greed. And today’s poaching is escalating throughout the world and illegal trade supports the poacher’s activities. As a result of these crimes, not only are the animals and plants in peril but has created huge ecological imbalance.

Let’s celebrate this year theme, by being part of Campaign on June 5 to end the illegal trade in wildlife. We should create our own reality through the choices by encouraging people to change their habit and behaviors so that the demand for illegal wildlife products falls. Let’s put wildlife in our hearts and its future in our hands. More awareness and action should be pushed from the grassroots level so that they can safeguard the species for future generations. Whoever you are, whatever you do and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.

– Pratistha Thapa



“ I am a nurse, I bring out vitality in those who seem lifeless”.

I still vividly remember, it was March 30th, 8.20 am bed in the medical ward of Kanti Baal Hospital when I heard this soft and soothing voice uttering the words, ‘I have ALM.’ This very day, I believe that the almighty thought of  me, my young  immature mind worthy to know about something that is above the trivial things like religion, land, money over which certainly the entire human race are battling for. The voice came from a small 7 year old girl to whom due to the lesson she taught me that day compelled me to call her and name her as seven year old lady. With a weak smile though her swollen little gums, thin, emaciated tiny body yet with sparkling shimmering eyes, she repeated, ‘I have ALM’. Though, I was initially reluctant to correct her, I regret burping the words,” Baini, its AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, not ALM “. I hate to admit that my 20 year old mind could not comprehend as to why  she drew close to me, held my hands with a grin on her face and said, ‘Didi, with each passing day, I want to live, I miss my Baba, my Mitini, my home back at Palpa. But they say without my medicines and treatment here at Kathmandu I will never be able to return home.’ I merely could gather my sense for a reply as a seven year old girl who had not known the world found it to be so beautiful than myself who had wished numerous times to die because of not being able to bear this terrible world. I felt disheartened, miserable and tears rolled down my cheeks as I flipped the chart and discovered the diagnosis to be as ‘Refractory AML’.


With great pride, I would love to admit that this very girl became the ultimate source of inspiration to all the B.NS 1st  year and Bsc.Nursing 3rd year students of JFIHS/LA to conduct the toy exhibition at Kanti Baal Hospital, Maharajganj on Monday (11 April ) with whole new zeal and enthusiasm since everybody of us wanted her and other little patients of the hospital to be happy at least for one day. Nevertheless, this exhibition was also a pre-requisite of our Nursing’s Curriculum. IMG_20160411_103615 (1)


On the very day of the exhibition, the hall was filled with hustle and bustle, panic and nervousness, fear and anxiety all at the same time and the show began at around 11 am where we had arranged an array of exhibits constituting our innovative toy materials demonstrating the marvelous inter-connectedness between our ideas and thoughts. We had set up 5 different stalls based on the principle put forth by psychologists; Freud, Erikson, Jean Piaget and their psychosexual, psychosocial, and cognitive developments respectively for different age groups viz Infants (1 month to 1 year), Toddlers(1year -3 year), Preschoolers(3year to 6 year), Schooler (6year to 12 years) and Adolescents(12 year to 19).

image-c4e250f3cb7f2b15f102ce2b03b639ed4a9703a59488c80763919b0599eeb1ef-VThough all the creative toys exhibited at the stalls were worth describing,  some of them were absolutely prominent, hard to go unnoticed and had captured the attention of every child of respective age groups. To describe a few were; ‘Colour games’ where the toddlers were required to identify and put the coloured cartoon fruits into their respective coloured baskets.


‘Go with the flow’ was another game crafted out of water bottles placed on a zig zag fashion on a board where the child had to put the ball at one end of bottle which travel down the zig zag path and finally end on board.

Meanwhile, the preschooler stall also saw many young painters enthusiastically taking part at colour books and the T.V with different channels, guitar, football, games like snookers, chess board, table tennis also pulled down its own particular group of audiences.

The innumerable educative and illustrative pictures proved to be effective for delivering informal health teaching on variety of topics like breast feeding, immunization schedule and its importance, accident prevention, promotion of growth and development, personal hygiene its methods and importance, sexual health and development, drug abuse and menstrual hygiene practices, etc.


Much of all the panic and anxiety faded and it all reversed to positive interactions, laughter, contentment, happiness and joy at the end of the day. I still clearly remember the girl, who was counting her very last days was all the way sprightly as ever as she participated actively in all the games and teachings. I could see her face glowing just like a twinkling star as she moved from one stall to another as if with each new expression she wore, she painted a new hue in the world’s multitude of colors. Eventually, this made her the impeccable dawn of illumination for me at that moment for which I pleaded to the Divine being for some magical to happen.

That evening on my way back to home, I expressed my gratitude towards the divinity for everything he created to be so beautiful and charming. Reminiscing the whole day, amidst the bustling street of Kathmandu I could not hold myself from bursting into tears.


In the end, we realized that the most priceless gift given with this exhibition was to see those grim, lifeless faces, uninterested initially, feared little hands with cannula had transformed into active, giggling, cheerful, lively smiles and laughter and all these etched deeply into our minds for eternity.

Writer: Insha Pun

Humanitarian crisis


It was indeed like any other fine Saturday morning until the mind boggling mishap took place. I was blissfully discussing one of the recent programs concerning menstrual hygiene for around 15 young girls. I was feeling hungry, so my brother had gone upstairs to brew something for me on my request. Amidst all of this, the jolting started.  Mild at first, this grew stronger and stronger by the second. It was as if the building itself had begun to jump and dance with great enthusiasm. I could not help but laugh along with my cousin in disbelief, for it was my first experience of such a big tremor.  It was 12th of Baisakh, 2072 the day when the massive earthquake hit our country Nepal.

Rather than being panic stricken and running towards open ground, like most of my neighbours, I waited in a safe place for the tremors to draw to a close. After disengaging the gas cylinder and main electric plug, I stepped out of the house. Within 5 minutes, my four enthusiastic young volunteers and I were all set to help and serve.

“The two most important days of your life consist of the day you were born and the day you realize why.” It was at that very moment I envisioned that I had been trained all these years and equipped with all my knowledge for this moment. This horrific crisis, that loomed in a threatening shadow over our heavy heads.  It was then that all my experiences and training in psychological support, leadership, life skills and experience with the Red Cross was put to the test.  Along with my profession itself as a nurse, all had a purpose in giving me the ability to help the needy and helpless. Since the very first day of the devastating quake, I volunteered in the field of first aid and psychological support in the role of service provider/trainer and continue to do so till date.

The Nepal earthquake of 2015 gave me a clear picture of what one girl can do during a crisis if she has been trained and given freedom to explore different dimensions of life. It goes to show that gender is completely irrelevant when lives are at stake.  The only factor of value was the passion to provide service to humanity. Why is it that this notion has not prevailed eternally?  Has humanity sunk to so low a point that we need to be threatened with a crisis in order to believe and make a difference?

Written By: Pabitra Basnet
Edited by: Elisha Joshi


Originally Posted on : The ASAP Blog

If you can dream it, you can do it: Walt Disney

My journey as youth champion took a new turn when I got this opportunity to attend Asia Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment held in Bangkok. I am grateful to my mentors from Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) for nominating me to that conference. Prior to the conference I also attended Advocacy in Practice (Aip) training organized by International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) which is a multi-day intensive training for young advocates like us to hone our skills in those UN negotiation spaces. I am always indebted to my mentors from IWHC for providing that undue inspiration for advocacy in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

11016041_10206160763318115_6490992293391457418_nI coordinated a project called “YOUNG WOMEN FOR CHANGE” which was funded by IWHC (International women health coalition) and organized by the Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON). The main objective of this project was to facilitate the engagement of young women in Beijing20+ and further strengthen the country position in 59th Session of commission of status of women (CSW) especially on SRHR. As a part of this project we conducted a first young women caucus in Nepal, where around 60 young women working in the field of SRHR participated and provided their expertise opinion on the needs and issues surrounding SRHR of young women particularly of that of key affected young population. We developed a position paper where we highlighted the need of young women followed by a strategic meeting with the government and members of civil society who were to attend the CSW in March.

Nepali Team at CSW

Nepali Team at CSW

1st day of dejection !!

1st day of dejection !!

As any other first timer, I was pretty much excited about 59th Session of commission on the status of women (CSW) as it was a historic 20th year review of the milestone laid for women in the form of the Beijing conference in 1995. The excitement didn’t last very long as I was disappointed on the very first day of CSW as the declaration which was adopted  wasn’t strong enough to guarantee the right of women in terms of her bodily autonomy. Things were gloomy for me as even after the 20 years of establishment of the platform of action the declaration failed to address the basic fundamental human right of women i.e the right to decide on her sexuality and make her reproductive decision by herself including termination of unwanted pregnancy guaranteed by access to legal and safe abortion services. The role of women human rights defenders and their contribution in advancing women’s right across the globe was also largely ignored not only in the political declaration but also in the working methodology. Amidst these rejections, I received a silver lining in the form of my country statement and its commitment in international arena to advance Sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Nepal’s further acknowledgement towards the burning issues of climate change and need of Beijing POFA to interlink with upcoming sustainable goals was also praiseworthy.

AiP 2.0

AiP 2.0

As first timer, things were very chaotic for me in the beginning. UN jargon and the different negotiations, its processes, its expected outcomes and how to acclimate myself by actively engaging in these spaces were my preconceived notions. Meanwhile, guidance of mentors from IWHC and their valuable words and also Advocacy in Practice training 2.0 prior to the conference made the entire navigation smooth.

AiP 2.0 team !!!

AiP 2.0 team !!!

March (1)

Getting ready for March for Equality !!

One of the most memorable moment from CSW was the march for Equality on 8th march on the auspicious occasion of International Women Day. Thousands of men and women from all around the world marched in the street of Newyork demanding equality. Hundreds of side events from organizations all over the world working for women in line with twelve critical areas for the Beijing platform of action were difficult to trace in the beginning. As Prochoice, I tried to attend those addressing the SRHR of women, especially of that of young women and found less of these spaces belonging to me. I also encountered many women against women in those spaces. For me it was so ironical, when these women were identifying themselves as one working for the right and welfare of women, but yet so against the very fundamental right of women and girls, the right to decide over one’s body. It was honestly very hypocritical for me. Amidst all these, working with young women from all around the world in formulating the youth SRHR statement and young feminist statement was really inspiring,

Team in formulation of Youth SRHR statement for post 2015

Team in formulation of Youth SRHR statement for post 2015

Young feminist  around the globe !!

Young feminist around the globe !!

With inspiring mentor Sarah !!!

With inspiring mentor Sarah !!!

Yes, even after the 20 years of Beijing declaration, it is very disappointing to say that no single country in the world has achieved the gender parity. I was astounded to find a practice of swapping of one right of women and girls over another in these negotiation spaces. Over the years, sexual and reproductive health and right has been the most debatable topic and given very less emphasis during the negotiation. I often wonder as how is the welfare of women guaranteed when they have no decision over their own body? With this ignorance of the majority of the states to fully ensure the right of its citizen by reducing the gender biased discriminatory laws gender equality and women empowerment will always remain an illusion. But as youth champion, a hope was instilled in me and I still have that flickering ray of hope for which I will pledge to strive now and in the future in my individual capacity, not only for the women of my country, but for women worldwide to speak for their rights, the basic of all; right to ones bodily autonomy. I have a dream, a dream to be part of that CSW in a future where SRHR of Women is acknowledged with full consensus by all the member states.



Another world is not only possible, she is on her way, on a quiet day, and I can hear her breathing: Arundhati Roy 

Originally posted on : The ASAP Blog


Ever since my childhood, I vividly remember the subtle social differences that society had created for me. Among these, I remember being forced to give up my favorite sport—football, because it was supposed to be the game of my brother and not mine. I grew up and excelled academically and aspired to be a lawyer. I was objected to again. I was told that a profession which demanded leadership and knowledge on law and orders was not meant for me. I choose nursing instead.

Although equal opportunities were provided to study and to excel academically in home, there was a bias between my brothers and me. I was constantly groomed and reminded of lessons of how to behave like proper women viz the very etiquette of eating, walking, talking, laughing. Meanwhile, my brothers roamed around in the dark streets till late nights with no societal boundaries. The famous phrase directed towards us was “Girls should always take care of her lips and genitals” meaning they are not supposed to speak loud and rebellious and should stay virgin before marriage. The future role of me and my sisters were often shown or portrayed as weak and supplementary whereas my brothers were supposed to be strong and expected to lead the family in the future.

When I entered graduate school of Nursing with a major in women’s health and development, this is when the course of my life changed. This is when the existing differences in societal construct in terms of sex and gender were crystal clear. Gender roles were the societal expectation and were purely ascribed and in no way related to our biological differences. I slowly unraveled the origin and factors that perpetuated these roles generation after generation. These roles and their effect in women’s health and development was what interested me.

My knowledge was propelled further by the ASAP Youth Advocacy Institute which I attended 2 years ago. This institute helped me realize my new identity, “Feminist” (men and women who believe in feminism: a principle or belief that women’s have social, economic and political equality as that of men). It made me realize that I always had been a feminist even before I knew its literal meaning. What was lacking in me was that conviction and courage to speak for what I believed in and wanted for myself and for my future.

Since ages society has tried to keep women within predefined boundaries whereas men are set free. They are allowed to be as ambitious as they want, take their dream job and travel the world and most of all decide over their own bodies. However, when it comes to same access for women, they are labeled as antisocial and rebellious. In my view as a young feminist, the most powerful and the most liberating rights of women is freedom or choice to decide over her own body and her future. I truly believe that the power lies in choice. Choice to stay single or to get married, to remain virgin or to have sex before marriage, to choose one’s gender identity, to love men or women, to have or not to have children, to decide the number, timing and spacing of children, to keep the unwanted pregnancy or to abort it. And while doing so, they should have all the necessary information and means to make these choices in terms of sexuality and reproduction. These are our basic rights when we are being born as human.

When these rights are exercised by women then the new world will emerge……….



Coercion, discrimination and violence while making these choices are often seen in terms of discriminatory laws and policies of the states. Politics often ruled by men and women with patriarchal notion have always tried their level best to hinder liberation of women in having control over their own body. Freedom of bodily integrity is seen more dangerous than atomic or nuclear power. It is reflected in terms of restrictive and discriminatory languages in international dialogues and conventions. It is a known fact that sex and sexuality is very basic to being born as human. It lies in the fundamental needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. However, talking about it or acknowledging the right of citizen towards sexual freedom is seen as threat to society in many countries in the world. Statistics of those same countries in the world reveals higher incidences of violence against women including rape and sexual violence, death of women during child birth and due to unsafe abortions as well. However, these societal gender inequalities affecting the health of the women are largely ignored in the national and international political as well as legislative framework.

A decade onwards now, when violence against women is slowly getting international attention as most of the states have ratified CEDAW (Convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women) and states are making laws and policies to address this issue which is commendable. Meanwhile, a fundamental question still remains unsolved. These countries in one hand are addressing violence against women but at the same time restricting women from terminating the unwanted pregnancies or providing limited choices on birth control. In doing so aren’t they perpetuating discrimination and violence against women? This indeed is violation of human right and violence against women. The state policies and laws seem hypocritical in this context.

A truly equal just world is only possible when half of the world population can live their life with freedom; decide over their future and their bodies without fear, shame, guilt, coercion, discrimination and violence. This is only possible when a state realizes sexual and reproductive health rights as fundamental rights of their citizen. And in doing so, they should empower young women and instill them with the power of choice. It is only through our power of choice over bodily autonomy we can truly enjoy other social, economic and political rights what so ever.

By Smriti Thapa