Statement by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General The Girl Child Initative in Nepal,
on World Population Day
“ Despite significant gains made in reducing poverty and improving opportunity and well-being for many people around the world….among those least served by previous development initiatives are girls, particularly those in their formative teenage years.
Just when girls should be in school and imagining the possibilities ahead, too many are held back from pursuing their ambitions by social and cultural traps. I urge all Governments, businesses and civil society to support and invest in teenage girls. Everyone deserves the benefits of economic growth and social progress. Let us work together to ensure a life of security, dignity and opportunity for all”.
The latest project of Puja Foundation is concerned with improving the social position of teenage girls and young women in Nepal. This project has been inspired by the International Day of the Girl, which has been established by the United Nations (http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild).
The goal of the project is that teenage girls in Nepal will have a say in the matter of their future and their own lives. Also, the project wants to create recognition for the important contribution of girls to their community.
The measurabele outcomes of the project will be: fewer childmarriages, a better health for girl children, more participation of girls in all levels of education, better economic opportunities, and in general, a sustainable future for Nepal, in which the contribution of girls and young women will be seen and heard.
Because apart from the obvious crisis Nepal is in, due to the devastating earthquakes of last year, there is also a hidden crisis. This hidden crisis consists of the structural inequality between opportunities girls and boys in Nepal. In many families, the birth of a girl is at best being tolerated: the preference would have been (another) boy. Because of this, there is less value attached to the lives of girls
This leads to violence against girls and women, including selective abortion and infanticide of girl-children. Girls eat least and last, get less medical attention, education etc, Teenage girls are also being sold to “work” in the brothels in the big cities in India. This inequality is one of the most limiting influences, that hinders true progress in Nepali society.
Ever since its inception, Puja Foundations has been working for the empowerment of girls and women in a backward position in society, by offering them opportunities. Through our contacts with among others Dr. Badiul Majumdar, the director of The Hunger Project in Bangladesh, and the Nepali NGO Sahara Nepal, we now have the opportunity to have girls and young women participate in a series of outstanding, very succesfull workshop, geared towards the social and economic and social empowerment of women and girls.
We will do this by adapting for Nepal the workshops and trainingprograms that have been developped and put into practice by The Hunger Project in Bangladesh (http://www.thp.org/our-work/where-we-work/bangladesh/volunteer-mobilization-bangladesh), Puja Foundation aims to transform the fate and future of young women and teenage girls in Nepal. We will do this among other in cooperation with the Nepalese NGO Sahara Nepal. This organisation has more then 20 years of practical experience in the field of development, and consists of a huge network of professionals and volunteers in the villages in Eastern Nepal. Through this network they have acces to, and enjoy the trust, of thousands of families in Eastern Nepal.
The purpose is to start this fall with the training of 40 – 50 Nepalese women, to enable them to lead these workshops in the villages. They will be trained for this by experienced trainers of The Hunger Project Bangladesh, so they can start giving these workhops to 1000’s of young women and teenage girls in the villages, and can also train new women to become workshopleaders, so we will be able to reach more and more teenage girls and young women in Nepal. By attending these workshops, they will experience breakthroughs and create new possibillities, in the areas of selfconfidence and self-reliance, education, economic opportunities etc.
For this first phase of the project, we need € 12.000, = in total. Your contribution to this, large or small, will be highly appreciated.