Report on the celebration of the 109th International Women’s Day
Motto: # Balance for Better
On behalf of NRNA-NCC Women Forum Switzerland, I would like to inform you about the celebration of the 109th International Women's Day on 2nd March 2019 in Staufen/AG Switzerland.
We focused on the slogan of this year's International Women's Day: "#Balance for Better" or written out “The Better the Balance the Better the World”.
According to the comments and feedbacks of our respected guests and participants the program was very well received and successful.
We had the opportunity and the honour to welcome as chief guest Mrs Antara Singh, 2nd secretary of the Nepals Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. As a very special guest we could also welcome Mrs Bandanaa Rana, recently elected as Deputy Chairperson of UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), who happened to be in Geneva during these days.
Our main guest was Mrs Manisha Dangol Shrestha, Advisor for NRNA UK, Director - London Fashion House and Mrs Nepal Universe 2018. She had been invited to share her experience with setting up a successful enterprise, with encouraging and training women for being self-confident and self-reliant and with organising support for vulnerable people.
The entire program was moderated by the Women Forum member Ms Seema Gautam.
The program started with welcoming our guests with Khatas (Ashan Grahan), a candle lighting, playing the national anthem of Nepal and with the welcome message by Ms Kalpana Baettig Tamang, member of the Women Forum.
Then followed by the felicitations and addresses by
- SNS (Swiss-Nepalese Society) treasurer Mr. Sujan Malla
- Founder of NRNASwitzerland and ONF President Mr. Sanjay Mudbhary
- NRNA-NCC President Mr. Bumi Raj Gurung, who also asked in his address the audience to observe one minute's silence in memory of Nepals Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, who recently passed away in a helicopter crash.
- JSS President Mr. Shyam Sapkota
- Ms. Bindu Steinmann Pandey, the first Nepalese woman having come to Switzerland
- Our main guest from the United Kingdom / UK, Mrs Manisha Dangol Shrestha,Advisor for NRNAUK, Director - London Fashion House and Mrs Nepal Universe 2018
- The very special guest from Nepal, Mrs Bandanaa Rana, Deputy Chairperson of UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Mrs Bandana Rana spontaneously addressed the audience with some personal reminiscences as well as comments about the actual situation of women in Nepal and in other parts of the world. Even though her own mother was illiterate her mother convinced her father to allow her to go to one of the best schools of Nepal at that time. Later, in the early 1990-ties, a time when in Kathmandu and other urban places in Nepal the situation of women was already quite good, Bandanaa Rana got the chance in the frame of a UN-project to go with a team to some countryside places for interviews with women about their situation. But only the males would answer her questions saying that they exactly knew about the situation of the women and that the women were not capable to answer her questions. She then found out, that if she went in the very early morning to the drinking water and washing place / "Padhero" of the village, she could meet the women without their husbands and then the women were very well able to talk about their situation. Many years later, when also in Nepal penalising violence against women and the improvements of their rights had been on the political agendas, the prevailing opinion was still, that domestic violence is a private matter and public or government had not to intervene. She did not at all agree with this and mentioned an example from an Indian TV-spot "Ring the Bell" encouraging us, that if we hear from a nearby house or apartment the big noise of a dispute, to go there, ring the bell and ask something simple like, "would you have some milk to spare as we just run out of it"....... She concluded, after some references to the still existing discrepancies in the rights for women all over the world, that she hopes to see the time when it would no more be necessary to celebrate the Women's Day because all the imbalances had been removed.
- As theAmbassador of Nepal to Switzerland and head of the Nepalese Mission to the UN in Geneva, H.E. Deepak Dhital was leaving Switzerland after a four and a half year tenure on 2nd March 2019, the day of our celebration, Ms Antara Singh, 2nd secretary was representing the Embassy at our event. She conveyed Ambassador Dhital's greetings and best wishes for the future of the Nepalese community in Switzerland as well as his congratulations for the organisation of our Women's Day celebration where he had always been present as chief guest. She then mentioned that Nepal is for the period 2017 - 2020 one of the 47 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and is therefore actively participating in the decisions of this UN-body. In the very recent time Nepal has made tremendous progress in introducing human rights regulations in its legislation, especially also concerning women rights. Beginning 1930 with the prohibition by the Regent Chandra Shamsher Rana of the "Sati-Pratha" / the forced death of a widow after her husband died, it has still been a long way up to nowadays women rights regulations.
First information part
- Ms Bijay Bhatta, advisor of the Women Forum Switzerland, informed on the 2018 supported NRNA-ICC Women Forum's 6th and 7th Uterus Prolapse Treatment projects and the Health Awareness and Ear-Nose-Throat = "ENT" Programs in Accham and Sindhupalchowk. Through our campaign "CHF 1.00 per month per person", we could send CHF 1'000.00 in February 2018 and in October 2018 CHF 500.00 to the Women Welfare Fund of NRNA in Nepal for these projects.
She also presented a short video with examples of campaigning and informing the population on the Uterus Prolapse problems and its treatment.
Ms Bijay Bhatta added the actual information about NRNA-ICC Women Forum's 8th Uterus Prolapse Treatment project and the 3rd Ear-Nose-Throat = "ENT" - Health Camp in Nuwakot of 28 February to 1st March 2019. For these projects we sent on 4 February 2019 CHF 1'000.00. She closed with a summery of the support by our Women Forum for the Uterus Prolapse Treatment projects from 2016 to February 2019 amounting to a total of CHF 5'500.00
- Ms Antara Singh, 2nd secretary of the Nepalese Embassy in Geneva, spoke about "Government's Preventive Measures for Violence against Women and Children". She started with a video of statistical data about the known cases of violence against women in Nepal. In 1996/1997 just a total of 336 cases were reported but by 2016/2017 this number had dramatically increased to a total of 11'629 cases. Out of these about 60% ended with the signing of a mutual agreement paper where in many cases the women were put under pressure to sign it by their family. Only 582 cases or about 5% of all were then prosecuted and out of these a mere 17 cases were finally registered in court by the end of the fiscal year. Ms Antara Singh explained then that without a legal base such cases cannot be prosecuted and showed the actual state of its implementation. 2009 the Domestic Violence Act (Offence and Punishment) and 2010 its regulations came into force. In the constitution we find
Art 38: Rights of Women / Art 39: Rights of Children / Art 29: Right against Exploitation . Among the Duty for the GoN to implement commitments and obligations as per international law she highlighted the "Convention on Elimination of All Forms of DiscriminationAgainst Women (CEDAW)" and the "Child Rights Convention (CRC)". With all these legislations Nepal is quite high in the international human rights ranking. But as the statistic shows the awareness of this legislation among women is still low (13%) and the prosecution of these crimes is on an equally low level. The government's measures to improve it are /- Eradication of harmful practices by penalising all forms of harmful traditional practices against women and girls, such as Child Marriage, witchcraft allegation and practices, discrimination of Kamlari -, Badi -, Jhuma - and Deuki - women and girls,
/- Raising Awareness and Empowerment by launching campaigns against harmful practices such as Chhaupadi, Child Marriage (National Strategy to End Child Marriage by 2030), Dowry system and allegations of witchcraft, reintegration of Kamlari and Badi community by empowerment programmes (scholarships, hostel facilities, economic opportunities)
/- Access to Justice in case of Sexual Harassment at Workplace, theAct provides the right to lodge a complaint at the District Administration Office against anyone who commits such offence at the workplace. The Nepal Police has established a GBV (Gender-Based-Violence) information management system to collect nationwide data on cases of violence against women and girls and the National Women’s Commission maintains the data of cases on violence against women and reports it to the President.
She concluded her presentation with summing up that
-/ last year alone, more than 16 Human Rights Acts were passed (mainly relating to protection and promotion of rights of women and children)
-/ the status is improving, but needs tremendous reforms (Laws, Institutions, Police and Court forAccess to Justice, Media, Education, Health, Nutrition, etc. for all-round empowerment)
-/ the support by the Nepali community worldwide is essential to reach the goal of a considerable reduction of violence against women and children in Nepal
- Mrs Manisha Dangol Shrestha's presentation was about "Women Empowerment with reference to her own experiences". She showed in a first part her commercial activities and achievements with "London Fashion House", having established it at three places,
- London Fashion House, Head office, Hayes , Middlesex
- London Fashion House, South Harrow Branch, Northolt , London
- London Fashion House, Nepal Branch, Link Road, Dhalko, KTM, Nepal
offering Products and Services like -Any design of clothing, in made to measure - Nepali made products like Dhaka, Topi, Daura....
- Traditional attire for Nepali Rituals, Wedding, Pasni, Gunyo Choli, Bartamandha etc. - Professional Photography // - Professional Videography // - Decorations
She has most of the products manufactured in Nepal as well as many of the services, creating in this way, together with the Fashion House locations, a considerable number of jobs, mainly for women in Nepal and UK.
In the second part she presented the social aspect of her activities, with the establishment and publishing of "Today's Woman" the "First ever Nepalese international Magazine and online news portal dedicated to all women around the world to -Appreciate them - Reward them - Encourage them - Support them and connect them" and with organising Mrs / Miss Nepal UK event to build inner confidence among young and married women residing in UK. Similarly she plans to organise in coming October in Nepal a one week long Mrs World Nepal nomination with one Nepalese representation of each country with the goal to build their inner confidence and strengthen their believe in their own capabilities.
Inspired by giving back to the community what she herself had received she gave a helping hands for the needed ones, e.g. she could raise successfully one million rupees to help children with disabilities and Cerebral Palsy in Nepal.
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 109th International Women's Day, and called upon the women and men to "#Balance for Better" meaning that even when some progress is already achieved, the world can only be better with a better balanced structure of our societies.
- She informed about the NRNA-ICC Women Forum's projects carried out around this years
IWD in Nepal - One month tailoring training for 20 women in Nuwakot
- Uterus Prolapse Treatment Project and Ear-Nose-Throat Health Camp - Hygiene awareness program for students in Nuwakot
- Representing NRNA in the IWD Rally in Kathmandu -A blood donation campaign in Kathmandu
- Empowerment and skill enhancement program for 20 women of Europe in Belgium
- She then presented her report about NRNA-NCC Women Forum's activities from February 2018 until February 2019, with the following events and projects
- February, Support of Uterine Prolapse Treatment Project in Accham - 10 March, Celebration of International Women's Day in Staufen/AG
and collection of CHF 850.00 and 21 July collection of CHF 600.00 for a "Prodh Shiksha" project in Kavre (project Dr.Meena Singh Khadka)
- 10 March and 24 June donations of CHF 350.00 for Bal BalikaAshram in Itahari
- 29-30 July Bijaya Bhatta, Seem Gautam and Subha Elmer-Lama participated in
NRNA's 11th European Regional Meeting and 8th Women Conference in Luxembourg - 15 Sept, Teej Festival preceded by an Interaction program with NRNA-ICC Women
Coordinator Ms Rajani Pradhan - 5 Oct, Transfer of CHF 500.00 for Uterus Prolapse Treatment Project in Sindhupalchowk - 5 Nov, Handover of the Buddha Bhagawan Site in Konta Beshi into the responsibility of
the Nagar Palika of Mandan Deupur, Kavre - 28 Nov, Handover of 12 wheel chairs to Bir Hospital, we had received CHF 1'100.00
- 15 Jan 2019, Distribution of locally produced sweaters to 52 mentally disabled persons in Bardagoriya GauPalika of Kailali, donation of CHF 300.00 by Subha Elmer-Lama
- 4 Feb 2019, Transfer of CHF 1'000.00 for Uterus Prolapse Treatment and ENT - Project in Nuwakot
She then showed a summary of the collections on the occasion of the celebration of the International Women's Days 2016 – 2018
2016, CHF 1'200.00 for the roof of a women house in Konta Beshi, Kavre
2017, CHF 1'000.00 for the health treatment of jailed women in United Arab Emirates 2018, CHF 850.00 for "Prodh Shiksha", a literacy project in Konta Beshi, Kavre
It was followed by the presentation of the project for the collection of the Women's Day 2019, a project of a 45 days skill training in Hair Cutting, Cosmetics and Beauty Care for ten Badi and Chaudary women in Kailali. The collection resulted in a total of CHF 1'100.00, CHF 250.00 on that day plus CHF 500.00 from Sunam Panta and CHF 350.00 from Subha Elmer-Lama.
Ms Subha Elmer-Lama closed her presentation with the vote of thanks to all who had contributed for the preparations and the realization of this years Women's Day celebration and of course especially also to all the guests, some even came from as far as Germany andAustria.
For a change the presentations had been interrupted by some dance presentations. The day ended with dinner and with Disco dance for everybody.
Switzerland 11th March 2019 Subha Elmer-Lama
NRNA-NCC Switzerland, Women Coordinator
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