Are you a student interested in women’s education?
At GEN we support all activity leading towards more equal treatment of women and understanding the difficulties that women face in the third world.
If you are a graduate or post-graduate student interested in topics relating to education and literacy of women in the developing world, please get in touch with us. Are you researching a topic related to women’s education? Would you want to involve GEN in your research?
If this sounds exciting, please contact Nonna to discuss things further.
GEN aims to empower girls and young women. We already have a few examples of our own on how giving a girl the opportunity to gain an education can drastically change the course of her life for the better.
We are a small charity and our means are limited; however, the help these girls receive from their GEN sponsors really does make a huge difference. Some of our girls are now entering higher education, and we are extremely proud of them.
Sunita Kisan comes from a small village a few hours’ walk from Beni, near the town of Pokhara. Her family has suffered considerable hardship in recent years.
Sunitaâ€™s mother is currently serving a jail sentence and her father has been missing for years, his whereabouts are unknown to the family. Sunita and her younger sister Sharmila have been supported by GEN for more than five years now. Sunita also has two younger brothers, who are currently being supported by another organisation.
GEN and PA Nepal first came across the family during the time of the motherâ€™s sentencing. She was convicted of murder, which was related to an alleged argument with a woman from the same village.The mother was accused of pushing the woman off a hillside causing her death. Many versions of this event exist, as well as about the treatment of the low caste family prior to the event.
Mrs Kisan has always maintained her innocence. PA Nepal or GEN pass no judgment in any way, and are only interested in the well-being of the children. After the mother was sent to prison, and until very recently, the four children continued to live in the village with their blind grandmother, who went begging from village to village as a means of survival.
At first the family was badly stigmatized by the villagers and continuing to live in the same village was a challenge. However, little by little attitudes changed and the past two or three years have been peaceful, but obviously extremely tough financially.
In the autumn of 2010, the grandmother died and the four children were left alone with no adult in the household. Although very capable of handling their everyday lives, this nevertheless left the children vulnerable. In the presence of the grandmother, though blind, there was some sort of security with patronage and especially the girls felt safe. But without an adult in the house, the two young girls became an obvious target to unmarried (and even married) men in the village and our concern was that it would only be a matter of time before one of them, or both, would be forced into a marriage, or even worse, raped or otherwise harassed.
Sunita is an incredibly self aware and conscious girl. She exhibits strong responsibility towards her family and siblings as the eldest daughter. For years now she has been taking care of the whole family. In the absence of her mother and father, she has managed to keep the children together and provide them with a home. Her younger sister, Sharmila, has also been helping Sunita to run the family. Both sisters appear brave enough to handle the family situation and have been visiting their mother in jail twice a month. For this they have to walk 6 hours downhill, and around 10 hours uphill to return home. The mother has been giving them advice and suggestions as to how to run the family.
With virtually no financial means, the family does not have enough food to feed themselves. In the past, the grandmother brought some rice, which she got begging in peopleâ€™s houses, and also the mother sends some money for daily purposes which she earns by knitting woollen clothes in jail. Since the grandmother passed away, the family depends entirely upon the money sent by the mother.
Sunita is now 18 years old. As she is young and beautiful, it is not safe to leave her in the village without adult supervision. Therefore GEN has decided to bring her to Kathmandu and provide her with vocational training in handicrafts, which will hopefully provide her with a profession and a steady income. She will also be provided with food and an accommodation facility near her school. This chance of getting a further education, provided by the GEN programme, intends to build a path for Sunita to a more prosperous and brighter future, and also the chance to help her younger siblings. Her younger brothers and sister will be placed with relatives and they will continue to be supported in their education.
We will follow Sunitaâ€™s progress once she arrives in Kathmandu and starts her schooling. With her strong will, positive attitude and never-ending determination she will no doubt embrace every challenge and do well in her studies.
Sushila Lungeli comes from an extremely poor family. Her father was blind and was not able to work and provide for his family. Sushilaâ€™s mother had psychological problems but she still managed to work in peopleâ€™s houses, or in the fields of the villagers. This contributed a tiny sum towards the survival of the family but their existence was meager at best. Because of her illness, Sushilaâ€™s mother had to leave the family and go live with her relatives for some time. Only after the health of the father got worse, and after seeing the bad condition of the family, the mother came back to live with the family.
GEN found Sushila and her older sister Tek Maya (Tina) whilst they were living alone with their father. GEN decided to accept both girls into the programme. The sisters turned out to be incredibly hard-working, responsible and mature. At the beginning the girls had to walk two hours each way to reach the school in another village as no means of local transportation exists in the area. GEN, with the help of the girlsâ€™ sponsor, provided them with a bicycle to go to school. This helped a lot and shortened the sistersâ€™ journey time to school. Normally Tek Maya pedaled, whilst the younger sister Sushila sat on the back rack.
Both girls gained good results and studied hard. Tek Maya got married in 2009, dropped out of school and left the GEN programme. Sushila continued to cycle to school and study hard.
In the meantime Sushilaâ€™s father remained sick for a long time. He was treated in a hospital as well as at a Christian organisation from time to time. He passed away in 2009. After her fatherâ€™s death and sisterâ€™s marriage, Sushila and her mother went to live with a relative.
Sushila is a talented and hard-working girl. She failed her grade 10 School Leaving Certificate Exam (SLC) for the first time last year, as she was busy taking care of her father and disturbed after te death of her father. However, Sushila reappeared in the SLC exam in 2010 this year and passed the exam. She has now progressed to grade 11 in a college called College for Higher Education. She is admitted in Education Faculty and has chosen Nepali language and Mass Communication as her major subjects. Her aim is to be a journalist.
GEN is paying for all her school-related expenses, and also provides her with a daily lunch allowance. Due to Sushilaâ€™s family situation it would have been extremely unlikely for her to complete her studies beyond grade 5 or 6, let alone pass her SLCs or attend higher education. We are delighted to have been able to empower this ambitious young woman, and provide her with the tools for a better life. GEN is committed to supporting Sushila until the end of her studies, after which we will do our best to help her to gain employment and stand on her own feet.