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THE PLIGHT OF AN ABANDONED WIFE AND MOTHER

Women and children's rights


Gender and caste discrimination are rife in Nepal and though Nepal
is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), successive governments have
done little to act on human rights issues, and virtually nothing on womens
rights. Although Nepal is officially a caste-free society, the reality is very
different.
A womans place in life, her ability to obtain gainful employment and selfsufficiency is based on both caste and the men who dominate her first
her father, then her husband, and finally her son. A woman is considered
an adjunct to and the property of the male head of the house.
A woman or girl child abandoned or thrown out of her family loses her
status in society, and is usually deemed casteless or unclean. Her chance
of obtaining self-sufficiency through employment without family/caste
introductions is very difficult without outside help and support. (Ack:ashanepal.org)
*******

The KOIRALA-KAESLER FOUNDATION (Widow Support Centre) offers support


to abandoned wives and mothers, by offering vocational skills training as the first
step towards meaningful independence.
The Centre has already welcomed
such ladies. Here follows a brief biography of one such lady. So as to protect
her privacy, we have changed her name and omitted the name of her village.
******
Daya lived a simple life in her remote village in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.
Nepal. Although her family were very poor, nonetheless, Diya had a happy childhood,
playing with friends, cutting the grass for the buffalo, fetching water for her mother,
grinding spices for cooking and generally assisting with the household tasks in
preparation for her own life as a wife and mother. This was to happen sooner rather
than later!
Her father found a suitable husband and by the time Diya was 15, her marriage was
arranged and she wed her husband, never having seen him before! Tradition dictated
that she had to say a very emotional and final farewell to her own family, and follow
her husband back to his family home where from thenceforth, she would have to
comply with the demands of her in-laws, being at their constant beck-and-call. Their
housemaid no less!

2.
By the age of 16, Diya had her first child. Others followed in quick succession until
Diya was caring for 5 young children, as well as caring for her husband,, along with his
father and mother.
Life was extremely hard. Surely it could hardly get any worse!
But it did! After the birth of their fifth child, her husband left home and disappeared
from Diyas life Diya has no idea where he went or what happened to him. That was
29 years ago.
Since then, Diya has lived in mourning practising puja, on the assumption that her
husband is dead. But as there is no death certificate, Diya is unable to access the
meagre state pension for widows. Coupled with this is the fact that Diyas was a
traditional marriage with no legal contract of wedlock.
So Diya has been left
destitute. Her children have long-since grown-up and left home. Diya lives a lonely,
destitute life in her humble dwelling, trying to survive.
In the meantime, Diya moved to Kathmandu in search of menial work. She has
struggled with extreme poverty, including begging, to raise and care for her five
children through to adulthood.
The poverty of her one-room family home is
indescribable. Diya asked that details not be divulged !
In June 2016, Diya heard of a new endeavour opening in her neighbourhood of
Budhnilkanthe. A Centre for disadvantaged women called: the KOIRALA-KAESLER
FOUNDATION. The Foundation was opening a Widow Support Centre, but also
welcoming other disadvantaged women in need of support.
Diya decided to
investigate!
On the 23 June, 2016 at the inaugural dedication (Puja) of the new venture, Diya
happily joined five other women in circumstances similar to her own, to commence
learning the skills of a seamstress (tailor). Diya had, at last, found a safe haven and
a new friend in Lata (Lata Koirala-Kaesler) the Founder and Director of the new
Centre. Lata is herself a widow of almost one year, physically challenged, but with an
enormous desire and determination to help others less fortunate than herself!!!

Diya, wearing a traditional mens Nepali hat which she has made in the workshop!

Diya is just one of the many women who are now knocking on the door of the Widow
Support Centre as word gets around of its existence and the warm welcome that
awaits those who are fortunate to enter through its doors!

3.
The continued existence of the Centre is totally dependent on the goodwill and
financial support of readers such as yourself. Within the next two months, the initial
seed money from Social Endeavours Nepal will be exhausted.
Where to obtain
future finance is an enormous worry for Lata. Rent alone swallows-up Nrs16,000 per
month!
Then there are utility bills, materials for the workshops, salary for the
professional trainer needed to instruct the ladies, food.the list goes on!
Please seriously considered whether you can help financially, either short or longterm. Without your active involvement, the endeavour will fade into oblivion! Where
will wonderful ladies such as Diya then be? And what of Lata??
A LIKE and a SHARE on the Foundations Facebook page are much appreciated.
Such actions are encouraging and spreads the word, but it actually doesnt help to
meet the inevitable costs!
Immediate donations can
info@koirala-kaeslerwsc.org

be

directed

to

our

PayPay

account

via:

Please do not hesitate to contact us (info@koirala-kaeslerwsc.org) if you wish to


discuss other ideas or wish to donate to a bank account.
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Written by:
Eric K.Fairman - Social Endeavours Nepal