New Safe House for Women :: Kathmandu, Nepal
In Kathmandu, Nepal, many married and some unmarried women are abused on a daily basis.
A recent Foreign Policy news report, dated May 2008, has published a list of "The Worst Places to be a Woman," where Nepal was named the worst in South Asia. According to the report, the average female income is 50% that of males, and the average literacy rate for females is just 35%.
The article goes on to say: "Marriage comes early in Nepal: women born in the late 1970s married at a median age of 16. And motherhood is particularly dangerous. Nepal is the 'deadliest place in the world to give birth outside Afghanistan and a clutch of countries in sub-Saharan Africa,' according to a 2006 report by the International Federation of the Red Cross. That's because only about 1 in 5 births is attended by trained health personnel. But the government is taking steps to improve women's lives: a quota system for women and minorities resulted in a third of the Constituent Assembly seats going to women in the April elections."
[Click here to see the complete article.]
The Mountain Fund is also taking steps: we have recently opened a safe house in Kathmandu to help provide a source of refuge. Most of these women's families have turned them away. The safe house provides a secure environment for women and their children to escape their abuse, to recover, and to become self-sufficient.
They say there's power in numbers, and we have partnered with The Women's Foundation in Kathmandu, Nepal, and with international community work organization the Tessa Horan Foundation, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Women's Foundation has already built very successful shelter program, but that program is facing a crisis of capacity. They cannot provide enough housing for the women and children that have come seeking refuge and assistance in building a new life. By opening the safe house, The Mountain Fund is has added the additional capacity needed to continue an already successful and multi-faceted program. This house quickly and inexpensively adds the capacity needed.
In addition to offering a safe refuge for these women, we offer training programs to help them become self sufficient for their future. Some of our training programs include basic English language; computer skills; trek leadership; and organic gardening.
For more recent stories on women in Nepal, see the following:
To see of what The Mountain Fund is about, check out these videos: