Tara Darji is the head of her household, working long days as a domestic and caring for her three young daughters. Denied access to education as a girl, Tara is helping disrupt a cycle of poverty for her family by attending Be Part of Her Dream classes.
As you celebrate strong women this weekend, please join us in honoring seventy-five HIO mothers studying in our Be Part of Her Dream (BPOHD) women’s empowerment program. Twenty-five women like Tara have participated in BPOHD since 2016. Fifty will begin classes next month. All show remarkable courage, vision and strength. These women are poor not because they lack initiative, but because they lack resources, opportunity and education. They're unseen and unheard. When HIO gives them a second chance to learn as adults, they're shocked. What a smart choice to say yes!
This year, ten women who’ve learned to read and write through previous BPOHD classes will pilot a one-year, innovative curriculum called On Her Way. It's being brilliantly designed by our HIO intern, Sofia Riva. This group will continue their journey toward financial independence through monthly personal budgeting and savings plan exercises. Hands-on vocational training will give them opportunities to hone practical and marketable skills. A core aspect of the program will use carefully guided critical thinking activities to deepen women’s awareness of human rights.
On Her Way human rights lessons build sequentially, presenting a global perspective while reaching a more personal level. From access to clean water to citizenship and civic participation, from labor and disability rights to violence against women, the curriculum holistically addresses all aspects of life. We’ll introduce stories of women from around the world with similar experiences that our girls’ mothers can relate to. Through discussion and journal writing, they’ll reflect on human rights issues and injustices that affect their own lives. Most importantly, the curriculum aims to foster a sense of solidarity and advocacy, inspiring BPOHD mothers' voices to be heard on issues that are important to them and to their communities.
A key component of the BPOHD program’s success is an incentive stipend each woman receives in exchange for participation. In 2023, sixty-five women will attend classes for two hours, five days a week and will receive $30 per month. Ten On Her Way students will receive $100 per month for their extra commitment to a five-hour school day. This amount is nearly equivalent to a living wage, what’s needed to truly make lasting change. Receiving a stipend eases the women’s worries about losing wages they would earn if they weren’t in school. It adds extra encouragement for them to stay focused and committed to learning.
We’re humbled by the steadfast care and support that inspires our HIO girls and their mothers in Nepal to shine. Your kindness helps them chart paths toward more empowered, fulfilling and dignified lives. Our deepest gratitude for all you do and very warm wishes for a happy Mother’s Day.
Lovingly - Laura and Ricky
Sofia Riva spent the summer of 2018 in Kathmandu as a Columbia University undergraduate working with our Be Part of Her Dream mothers and teachers. Sofia's inclusive nature, sharp mind and big heart quickly endeared her to our HIO community. She was instrumental in creating systems that continue to guide program monitoring and evaluation today. Now a Human Rights Master's Degree candidate at the University of Padova, Italy, Sofia has fully immersed herself in HIO’s work again. Designing the On Her Way curriculum as a catalyst for sustainable change means so much more to Sofia than a final internship project. What a blessing for HIO that Sofia is carrying our important work forward. And what a delightful reunion it will be when Sofia returns to Kathmandu to work in person with our HIO community again soon.