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PUJA FINDS HER VOICE

Residing 570 kilometers away from the capital and traveling hours across barren and muddy roads to get even the necessities of life, Puja Paudel hails from Simta, Panikhola. Growing up in such conditions has been tough for Puja, but they have taught her the importance of hard work and perseverance. Marred with a childhood of struggles and hardships which many children only read in books and on television, Puja has already had to take on responsibilities far beyond the age of 17. 

Daily household chores throughout the day, for her entire family, keep her pretty busy when she’s not at school, but that’s the story of every poverty-stricken household of her village. 

In a path of woes, Puja finds solace in her determination to learn and make a difference in this world, but alas, her school is way too far and there are no means of transportation in between. So, she studies in a hostel provided by the school, but given her weak economic status, she’s not allowed to intake on the expensive courses, but still her determination does not waver. 

The Beginning of Puja’s Journey  

Amidst the challenges, Puja found the opportunity to be a part of KISHORI – an initiative by the Shequal Foundation which aims to encourage, empower and equip adolescent girls with foundational, financial, digital & life skills. When her school was chosen for the KISHORI project, she was able to attend multiple transferable and life skill sessions which gave her the knowledge and awareness she needed about vital menstrual hygiene practices. 

Traditionally, Puja and her friends used to practice Chhaupadi (a tradition involving banishing young girls to mud huts or sheds away from home during their period, as they were considered “impure”) and spend hours in a cold room. Unaware of the fact that this was not at all the right way of dealing with menstrual bleeding and scared by the belief that not practicing Chhaupadi will bring bad luck and ill health, she suffered. But through KISHORI, not only does she now know the right way to take care of herself during her cycles, but also has been empowered to raise her voice against those harmful traditions that force women and girls into isolation during such sensitive periods of their life. 

From being scared to raise her voice to now finding a sense of perspective and a deeper appreciation of self-confidence and empowerment, Puja, through KISHORI, is now more vocal about her aim to become a deputy inspector. To make her family proud and protect her nation, this brave bird’s determination has impacted even her community and is an inspiration to us all. 

Becoming a Positive Force for Change  

Puja’s journey has not been easy, but she has persevered in leading her to overcome tremendous obstacles. Her story is a testament to the power of education and empowerment, and how it can transform the lives of those who are struggling. Her experience with KISHORI has further reinforced her commitment to becoming a positive force for change, and she is determined to use her newfound knowledge and skills to serve her community.  

Puja’s journey has just begun and her gratitude towards Shequal and the KISHORI project is immeasurable. She is eager to see where life takes her after KISHORI for the project has been a life-changing experience for her. At the end of the project, she simply said, “I am immensely grateful for the opportunity that the KISHORI project has provided me and am eager to continue my journey of personal growth and development.”  

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PUJA FINDS HER VOICE

PUJA FINDS HER VOICE

Residing 570 kilometers away from the capital and traveling hours across barren and muddy roads to get even the necessities…

Admin
Admin

THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR STUTI 

From menstrual hygiene to financial literacy and digital literacy, the KISHORI project has paved the way for a brighter future for Stuti Sapkota. Currently, in the eleventh grade, Stuti was a student at Tri-Padma Vidyashram Secondary School, Pulchowk, and largely considered herself an average student, however, her dedication to studies and her drive to excel was anything but. 

With strained economic conditions, she often watched her parents leave early in the morning and return late at night, their faces etched with fatigue. Witnessing their struggles ignited a desire within Stuti to make them proud and bring joy to their lives. 

KISHORI: A Hope for Stuti 

It was a challenging time for her, with very few opportunities to learn, but during this, she got into the KISHORI project by the Shequal Foundation. She has exclaimed that the project has been a beacon for her toward a brighter future, through which she has earned the skills that have made her a confident young woman. 

In its wide range of topics, the KISHORI project has guided Stuti about menstrual hygiene and how to take care of herself during her periods and counseled her on how to mentally deal with the situation to make her truly comfortable with her body. 

The financial literacy chapters of the program were eye-opening to her, as she was exposed to knowledge, she didn’t even know she needed to traverse her career. Bank transactions share markets, tax-related transactions, provident funds, sales and service tax, income tax, and much more. These were things that she wouldn’t have learned otherwise, and they equipped her with the tools needed to navigate the challenges of the world. 

“I have enjoyed every moment of the program, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity,” Stuti said with a smile. “The Kishori project has been a game-changer in my life, and I am confident that I will go on to achieve great things.” 

Life after KISHORI 

Now with the comfort of understanding what goes on with her body and how to deal with it in a healthy way during her periods, Stuti aims to get past her current limitations and put the financial literacy she gained from the KISHORI project to use. She aims to pursue business opportunities and explore ideas about how to bring that business into her hometown so that everyone can flourish. 

She wants to work with the other young women in the program as well, as their camaraderie helped each of them learn and grow better. “I will use the knowledge and skills I have gained through this program to create a bright future for myself and my family,” she vowed. “Thank you, Shequal Foundation, for empowering me and many other young women like me.” 

The challenges ahead are many, but Stuti is ready to face them head-on, armed with the knowledge and skills she has gained from the KISHORI project. The future looks bright for Stuti, and she is determined to shine.

TIKA SHINES BRIGHT

TIKA SHINES BRIGHT

From a family of six, all who rely on domestic agriculture for their livelihood, Tika Gharti really knows the importance…

Breaking Gender Barriers

Breaking Gender Barriers

In the fabric of our experiences, subtle biases weave a narrative that often goes  unnoticed until challenged.   Allow me to…

PUJA FINDS HER VOICE

PUJA FINDS HER VOICE

Residing 570 kilometers away from the capital and traveling hours across barren and muddy roads to get even the necessities…

Admin
Admin

“Hacking for an Empowered Nepal” is a comprehensive initiative that revolves around crucial themes, namely governance, art and culture, economic empowerment, health and lifestyle, and sustainability in Nepal. Participants in this initiative will delve deep into these vital domains, crafting innovative solutions intended to catalyze tangible, positive change and empowerment across Nepal.