Meet Her Turn change makers!

The last few weeks have been very busy at Her Turn. From August 1-3, we held the first Her Turn Girl Support Committee Symposium! 79 girl change makers attended, together with 25 teachers and mentors from Sindhupalchok, Gorkha and Jumla (the most remote) districts. The symposium was a platform to exchange experiences, meet women activists, learn about advocacy, and make friends.

It’s out turn![/caption]On the first day, we welcomed the girls and guests from other organizations, including special guest Ms Mohna Ansari, Commissioner from National Human Rights Commission Nepal. The girls got to know their peers from other districts and villages and shared their experiences working in their communities combating child marriage, violence, and harmful practices. They also met another speaker, Ms Radha Paudel, – a women’s activist and peace maker, with whom they discussed the challenges of their work as young leaders.

On the second day, the girls and mentors participated in a panel discussion with Ms Meera Dhungana, President of Forum for Women, Law and Development, Ms Nani Maya Thapa, the Executive Director of Gramin Mahila Srijansil Pariwar (an anti-trafficking organization from Sindhupalchok district), and a representative from Nepal Police. With the panelists, the girls discussed effective ways to enforce laws, the challenges they face as change makers in their communities, and the best strategies to overcome those challenges. Following the debate was a session on advocacy – the girls learned and debated what works and why girls should be advocate in their families, schools, and communities. At the end of the second day, the girls divided in groups and created short skits on the various scenarios that they deal with.

Day three was devoted to talking about solutions, recommendations, and ways forward. The girls put together a declaration (to be published soon) and a number of recommendations for our organization and others who work in their areas. They discussed what various agencies can do to improve their impact and include girls in their operations. Finally, together with their mentors, the girls discussed the futures of their groups – how to engage women’s groups in their communities, how to work with schools and how Her Turn can continue supporting them. Each Committee came out with a plan for the coming months. Her Turn is excited about helping the Committees work to achieve their goals.

At the end of the day, the girls visited the Swayambunath temple in Kathmandu and after returning to their hotel, had a dance party! It was fantastic to spend time with the girls and mentors, talk with them, and hear their great ideas. Every guest who saw them was impressed with the girls’ confidence and commitment to improving their communities.

Our participants were featured in My Republica daily where they talked about how they fight stigma surrounding menstruation – check it out!

We would like to thank the donors and supporters that made this event possible: MATCH International, Present Purpose Network, People in Need, and all the organizations that visited us throughout the symposium. Most of all we would like to thank the girls who lead the change – we remain inspired by you and committed to continue this work!