Field Trip

Women, reconstruction, Newari communities and local initiatives

At the UN Women Headquarters in Kathmandu.

Friday 16th March was our last official day of the field trip. After two weeks of intense meetings with people from all kind of levels, from the beneficiaries in Dhungetar to experts of big influential NGOs we had this last day with 4 meetings scheduled for the day. Due to the tight schedule with a need to travel across Kathmandu in the crazy traffic, we split into two teams. One team went to have a meeting with Lucky Gurung from Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN) and Jyoti Tiwari and her colleagues from the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB).

Sachie, Laura and I took the taxi to UN Women to meet with Sama Shrestha in the morning. Ms. Shrestha is a Program Specialist from Women Peace and Security and Humanitarian unit and she shared her view on women empowerment and the role of women in reconstruction with us.

UN Women has been working in collaboration with the government, UN OCHA and other UN agencies in 5 districts by creating multipurpose women centres where women from local areas have been supported in various ways to take an active role in the recovery, reconstruction and development of Nepal after the earthquake in 2015. UN Women is advocating that women are equal partners in reconstruction to men, and through their centres they have been able to reach out to the local women. The talk with Ms. Shrestha was inspiring and encouraging although there is still a lot to do and work for!

Reconstruction in Pilachhen.

In the afternoon we met Riken Maharjan, who is a local businessman in jewellery making and has founded together with his family the Maya Foundation, which before the earthquake focused on building capacity among youth in the Newari community in his neighbourhood in Patan, Kathmandu. After the earthquake he initiated a reconstruction project to build up the neighbourhood again. Mr. Maharjan met us in Pilachhen to show us how the reconstruction was actually going on and we met people from the community as well, preparing for a Newari celebration in the evening. Lucky as we were, we also had some excellent Bara (lentil bread), Samosa and tea served for us.

Mr. Riken Maharjan from Maya Foundation.

Mr. Maharjan is an example of how someone from inside the community can make a change in his surroundings, and this was very valuable for us since most of our meetings had been from the perspective of external experts and organisations operating in a location.

Newari women preparing bara bread.

After our meetings we met with our fellow students from AITM. Sumit, Amrita and Yug had organised a really special and beautiful dinner for us at Bhojan Griha, an old palace in Dillibazar, Kathmandu. We had a several course dinner with typical Nepalese food (the most advanced Dal Bhat I’ve seen!) and drinks combined with dance performances during the night showing the culture of different ethnic groups in Nepal. It was a lovely way to celebrate our common work and adventures in the field. We are very happy to have had the possibility to collaborate with AITM and hope this collaboration can continue in the future.

Dal Bhat from our last dinner with AITM students.

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