Report on the celebration of the 108th International Women’s Day on Saturday 10 March 2018

Published On: Sunday, March 25, 2018 | Source: NRNA SWITZERLAND
Motto: # Press for Progress
           On behalf of NRNA-NCC Women Forum Switzerland, I would like to inform you about the
celebration of the 108th International Women's Day on 10th March 2018 in Staufen/AG
Switzerland.
           We focused on the Motto of this year's International Women's Day: "#Press for Progress".
I'm glad to report from hearing the comments of our respected guests and participants that the
program was quite successful.
            We had also the opportunity and the honour to welcome as chief guest H.E. Mr. Deepak Dhital,
Ambassador of Nepal to Switzerland. Also present from the Nepalese Embassy were Mr. Tirtha
Raj Wagle, Minister / Deputy Permanent Representative and Ms Antara Singh, 2nd Secretary.
Our special guests were Ms Sita Baral and Ms Mina Kharel from NRNA Women Forum and
Nepali Nari Samaj Portugal. They had been invited to share their experience with supporting
Nepalese women in Portugal and about organizing events, cultural activities and interaction
programs for the Nepalese community in Portugal.
 
The entire program was moderated by the Women Forum member Ms. Seema Gautam.
Opening ceremony
        The program started with welcoming our guests with Khatas (Ashan Grahan), a candle lighting,
the national anthem of Nepal, the song "Jaso gara je bhana...yo man ta mero Nepali ho" nicely
sang by Dipasha Acharya and with the welcome message by Ms. Kalpana Tamang, member of
the Women Forum.
Then followed the welcoming speeches by
  •         - NRNA-NCC President Mr. Bumi Raj Gurung
  •         - NRNA-ICC member Mr. Ram K. Mahato
  •         - Ms. Bindu Steinmann-Pandey, the first Nepalese woman having come to Switzerland
  •         - SNS (Swiss-Nepalese Society) Vice President Mr. Peetam Gurung
  •         - Our special guests from the Nepalese community in Portugal, Ms. Sita Baral, Women
  •            Coordinator of NRNA-NCC and president of the "Nari Samaj" Portugal and
  •             Ms. Mina Kharel, Sachib of the "Nari Samaj"
  •         - H.E. Mr. Deepak Dhital, Ambassador of Nepal to Switzerland and head of the Nepalese
  •            Mission to the UN in Geneva
 
First information part
             - Ms Bijay Bhatta, member of the Women Forum Switzerland, informed on the 2017
supported NRNA-ICC Women Forum's 5th Uterus Prolapse Treatment project and the Health
Awareness Program in Doti. Through our campaign of "CHF 1.00 per month", CHF 1'000.00
could be sent in February 2017 to the Women Welfare Fund of NRNA in Nepal for this
project. The presentation about the project with pictures, budget and costs was based on the
report of Ms Rajani Pradhan, NRNA-ICC Vice Women coordinator and since October 2017
NRNA-ICC Women coordinator.
Ms Bijay Bhatta added the actual information about NRNA-ICC Women Forum's 6th Uterus
Prolapse Treatment project and the Ear-Nose-Throat = "ENT" - Health Camp in Accham of
26-27 February 2018. For these projects we sent on 20.February 2018 CHF 1'000.00.
            - Ms Antara Singh, 2nd secretary of the Nepalese Embassy in Geneva, spoke about Women
Empowerment and education among women in Nepal. She presented statistical datas
concerning general and also more detailed informations. Nepal's rank in the Gender Gap
Index has remarkably improved since 2006, Nepal is now on place 111 out of 145 countries,
the school enrolment of girls is about as high as that of boys, the life expectancy of women is
higher than of men, more women are working in the productive sector than men......
The government has also considerably increased its focus on women's education, for the
formal as well as for the vocational education.
She also mentioned that already a few women have reached quite high positions in the
government and in commerce, such as Ms Bidhya Devi Bhandari as President of Nepal, Ms
Onsari Gharti Magar as Speaker of Parliament or Ms. Bhawani Rana as Chairperson of the
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce. But she also said that despite such
achievements and a new constitution prohibiting any discrimination, in reality discrimination of
women is still wide spread, in society and family, in politics and in employments.
           - Ms Sita Baral, Women Coordinator of the NRNA-NCC in Portugal and president of the
Nepalese Nari Samaj, presented the situation of Nepalese women in Portugal and the
activities of the Women Forum and the Nepali Nari Samaj in Portugal and Nepal. There are
about 20'000 Nepali living in Portugal, the majority of them men.
Women Forum and Nari Samaj are not only supporting and advising women but also men in
difficult or desperate situations, with advice, with money, with shelter and even with
repatriation.
Nepali Nari Samaj also regularly organizes cultural events and programs during festivals.
Furthermore their group offers free 3-months trainings for hair dressing, for manicure /
pedicure and similar skills, or Nepali language trainings for children as well as for youths of the
second generation.
In Nepal they support a home for street children in Sunsari and offer a free health care
program in Kaskikot. For the flood victims in Terai of last August they sent clothes and food.
 
Inbetween: Tea / Coffee was served
Second information part
         - Ms. Subha Elmer-Lama, Women Coordinator of NRNA-NCC Switzerland, welcomed all to
the celebration of the 108th International Women's Day, and called upon the women to
"#Press for Progress" meaning that even when some progress is already achieved, they
should still continue to press for more. Although a few women have reached already high
positions in Nepal , there is still a large discrimination when it comes to the nominations by
parties of female candidates for the elections, specially concerning higher posts such as for
Mayor or for member of parliament. Also concerning the citizenship rights Nepalese women
are still disadvantaged compared to Nepalese men, especially when they are married to a
foreigner or when the father of a child is “unknown”
      - She informed about the NRNA-ICC Women Forum's projects carried out during this years
IWD in Nepal - Uterus Prolapse Treatment Project and Ear-Nose-Throat Health Camp
    - Round table discussion on Reintegrating Returnee Female Migrants
    - Representing NRNA in the IWD Rally in Kathmandu
    - Exchange Greetings with Women Head of State
    - She then presented her report about NRNA-NCC Women Forum's activities from January
2017 until February 2018, there were all together ten events / projects
   - January / February 2017 Support of Uterine Prolapse Treatment Project in Doti
   - 11 March, Celebration of International Women's Day in Staufen/AG
   - 7 April, Visit with Bijaya and Pramod Bhatta to Koontabesi, Kavre
(projects Dr.Meena Singh Khadka)
   - 13 April, also visit to Laprak, NRNA Earthquake Reconstruction of 1000 Houses Project
   - 27 May, NRNA Charity Dinner in Bern, to support NRNA Earthquake Reconstruction
   - 29-30 July Subha Elmer-Lama participated in NRNA's 10th European Regional Meeting
and 8th Women Conference in Frankfurt, Germany
   - 13 Aug, Teej Festival in Zürich, collection of CHF 1'313.00 for flood victims in Nepal
   - 3 Sep, election of the NRNA-NCC members for 2017 – 2019, Subha Elmer-Lama was
afterwards nominated again as Coordinator of the NRNA-NCC Women Forum
and regrouped in October the members of the Women Forum for 2017-2019
   - Nov-Dec, Women Forum started the collection for next Uterine Prolapse Treatment
Project followed by sending Fr. 1'000.00 in Feb 2018 for the project in Acham
   - Oct-Dec, different donations totalling CHF 2'800 were transferred
   - for Leukemia Patient Santosh Sah in Cyprus CHF 200.00 by Bindu Steinmann and
NRNA Women Forum
   - for Deurali Primary School, Kavre - for furniture CHF 500.00 by Peetam Gurung
   - Continuation of the food program of 2016/2017
for another year, CHF 1'200.00 by Nira Lama
   - for clothes NRP 65'000 by Sunam Panta
   - for Bal Bikram children, Dhangadi Jugeda, - for clothes CHF 250.00 by Sunam Panta
   - The Women Forum's activities for 2018 are about as follows
   - Jan-Feb 2018 support Uterus Prolapse Treatment Projects in Nepal
   - Celebration of the International Women's Day on March 10, 2018
  - Continuation of the support for Sri Deurali Primary School with food program
  - Support the installation of glass walls for the Buddha Bhagwan in Koontabesi, Kavre
  - Support for “Women Empowerment” through adult literacy programs in Kavre
  - Participate in the 11th European Regional meeting and 9th Women Conference
  - Organize a Teej Festival event in the first half of September 2018
 
Our Collection of this year's International Women's Day is in favour of a literacy
project: "Prodh Shiksha" for adults in Kavre (Project of Dr. Meena Singh Khakda).
Together with one extra donation from outside we collected CHF 850.00
Ms Sita Baral from Portugal donated nine of her books "Bhunati", whose sale was added to the
collection for the adult literacy project.
Furthermore Dr. Sanju Pahari contributed CHF 100.00 for clothes for a street children home in
Sunsari, transferred via Mina Kharel of Portugal's Nepali Nari Samaj.
 
Closing Part
           - There was an open discussion and interaction program on gaps in equality between men
and women in Nepal. Even though in the constitution these equality is clearly stated, the
reality is still far behind, especially also in the countryside. Almost every day we can read or
hear news in this respect, sometimes very shocking ones, as a recent incident has shown it.
For closing the gap concerning citizenship rights, even the constitution should be
amended.
       - Ms. Subha Elmer-Lama, closed then the official part of the day with her vote of thanks to all
who had contributed to the successful celebration of the IWD and especially also to all who
had joined this event having even come as far as from Geneva and Austria
Dances performed by Gauri Guvaju and Rajendra Bhandari, by Kalpana Tamang and song
and dances by Dipasha Acharya were very welcomed enjoyment elements of the event.
My great thanks go to all of them.
It followed then dinner and music with dance for everybody until 21'00h.
I personally would like to thank the entire family of NRNA-NCC members and all the other
individuals who supported our program.
My very special thanks go to Sukra Shrestha and Pramod and Bijaya Bhatta for shopping and
taking responsibility for the hall, to Seema Gautam for moderating the event, to Bijaya Bhatta for
preparing and presenting the information about the health program UPP, to Ranu Rana Ochsner
Nira Lama Candio, Bijaya Bhatta who prepared and sponsored the apéro together with me, to
Hira Lal Shrestha for the music and sound system, to Prem Bharati for booking the hall, to
Eduard Ochsner for his support for the Apéro and dinner management and to Mani Ram Tamang,
Santosh Rai and Prabin Thapa for preparing and cooking the delicious food.
My thanks go also the website-journalists Heera Lal Shrestha of "NepalSwiss.com", Nirajan
Shrestha of "SwissNepal.com" and Bijaya Dharpan Sharma of "Jila.com".
Switzerland 18th March 2018 Subha Elmer-Lama
NRNA-NCC Switzerland, Women Coordinator