The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Empowerment and change in Nepal

Since 2002, we have worked with our partner Caritas Nepal to empower women subsistence farmers by helping set up cooperatives and offering a variety of programmes that enable families to improve their livelihoods and lives.

From business management training and teaching organic farming techniques boosting livelihoods and nutrition, to leadership and empowerment training for women in cooperatives, Caritas has worked to ensure women are active members and leaders of these crucial local organisations.

One such success story comes from Laxmi Adhikari (pictured, front centre) and the Bhabishamrohatma (‘the future in our hands’) Cooperative. Like many other people in her village, Laxmi used to drink a lot and experienced violence in her family. But a couple of years ago a traveller passing through their village was beaten up and killed by several drunken men.

Shocked and horrified at what had happened in their village, Laxmi and 14 other women formed a mothers group to take action. They advocated against drugs and alcohol in the village, and initially there was substantial resistance.

In spite of this, the mothers group grew to around 117 women and became a strong force in the community, working with local government and establishing their village as a drug and alcohol-free area. Their motto is “let’s leave behind violence and go towards the truth”.

Through Caritas’ leadership training and their increase in confidence, women who were previously unable to speak out in public have been able to make a long-lasting difference within their own community.

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust