HIO'S WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
Be Part of Her Dream
A Program That Benefits Mothers and Their Daughters
HIO mothers have been taught emphatically since birth to be subservient. Most of these marginalized women have completed very little formal education, having been denied opportunities to go to school as young girls. Originally funded by the U.S.- based organization, Dining for Women, Be Part of Her Dream provides tools and supportive learning environments that encourage HIO mothers and grandmothers to develop as strong community leaders and role models.
Be Part of Her Dream offers mothers of HIO sponsored girls access to free education and a strong social support system. The program guides women through accessing legal rights they are entitled to as citizens, and it empowers them with a small measure of financial security and independence. With the capacity to affect social change, these poor, marginalized women gain confidence moving forward in their lives with a clear sense of dignity and hope.
Instruction in Nepali and English
Women attend Be Part of Her Dream class for two hours per day, five days per week, before or after regular school hours. Teachers use curricula that specifically address the needs of adult learners. Teachers adapt English, Nepali, and math curricula from materials used for instructing young children. Women gain digital fluency using Waterford Early Learning software, practicing daily in the school’s computer lab.
In Skills for Life classes, women learn vocational skills that are useful for opening small businesses. Be Part of Her Dream offers subtle and effective support to help women become more confident and productive role models for their children, especially their vulnerable daughters.
Innovative Cash-Transfer Program
Be Part of Her Dream established the first cash-transfer program of its kind in Nepal in hopes of alleviating profound poverty for many single, illiterate mothers with no dependable means of support. The core of the program offers small stipends to poor women in exchange for regular class attendance. This income helps offset lost wages they may experience by coming to class, and it creates a modest, though vital, safety net of financial stability where none now exists.
Improving financial literacy is a key goal of the program. Women open bank accounts and must save at least 50% of their stipends. HIO provides guidance for women using their savings to open grass-roots businesses and cooperatives. Because their daughter’s education is sponsored by HIO, mothers’ progress and savings is easily monitored.
Obtaining Nepali Citizenship
Citizenship in Nepal is not a birthright; it must be applied for with active consent of a father or husband. Women often face intense pressure from family members who dissuade them from applying for citizenship. Many HIO mothers have been denied access to Nepali citizenship papers, due to their marital situation and a profound lack of literacy skills.
Similarly, gaining access to birth certificates for their children is challenging for many HIO mothers. Be Part of Her Dream teachers, HIO staff, and a volunteer lawyer open doors to this access and provide guidance for women navigating complex government systems for the first time. By acquiring their own citizenship papers, women in the program can then exercise legal rights they are entitled to as Nepali citizens.
Preventative and Emergency Healthcare
Most of our girls’ mothers receive little to no professional healthcare or health education. Women enrolled in Be Part of Her Dream receive initial health screenings by certified healthcare providers, including OBGYN, dental and eye health exams to gain a baseline. Women in the program with acute medical conditions receive guidance navigating complex healthcare systems and financial support if needed.
HIO partners with two local NGOs to offer reproductive health and abuse prevention workshops and health counseling to all Be Part of Her Dream participants and their daughters. Workshops are intended to help prevent teen pregnancy, child marriage, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Instructors introduce the sanitary use of menstrual cups and reusable menstrual pads, which HIO provides for free.
How You Can Help
Without opportunities for improved education and healthcare, their struggle with endemic, grinding poverty will continue consuming HIO mothers' and grandmothers' lives. Donations to Be Part of Her Dream help advance this important educational intervention, giving marginalized women opportunities they'd never imagined possible. Your support helps them gain confidence and voice.