– Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya [Youth Wing Member]
Single women are amongst the most marginalized and vulnerable in the community due to their marital status, which leads to many forms of discrimination. The needs and rights of single womenare different compared to married women. The different socio-cultural traditions outcast them and restrict their social, economic and political mobility. They are kept isolated from various societal practices considering being ill-omened. Their human rights are violated starting from restriction on using the colour red to forcing on becoming vegetarian. Such discriminative social laws make single women more vulnerable. A number of single women are displaced due to the conflict, facing psychological trauma and mental torture from the society.
Poor employment opportunities, limited access to market, no collateral to access to credit and discriminatory wages forcing them to work in informal sectors
Lack of education increases poverty, emphasizes low status of single women and make them vulnerable to exploitation, violence and abuse.
Single women suffer due to :
1. Homelessness and displacement, “property grabbing” and thrown out.
2. Lack of inheritance and property rights
3. Lack of education, vocational training (only 11% single women are literate, census 2011)
4. Lack of Employment (75% single women have married in between the ages of 10-19, census 2011)
5. No/limited access to market
6. No job replacement after husband’s death
7. Lack of secured shelter
8. Discriminatory wages
9. No collateral to access credit
10. Limited, restricted or lack of access to services -health, nutrition, housing and social security
Chhahari in Nepali means the shade of a tree where weary travellers can reenergize and continue with their journey. Similarly, this metaphor has been adapted in the services provided by ‘Chhahari’ to the vulnerable single women who come to Chhahari to seek rejuvenation and healing in the secure and caring environment. The single women who come here receive counselling for their trauma as well as get equipped with tools to deal with the discriminating society outside. Chhahari has been able to provide rehabilitation services to vulnerable and needy women. The duration of this service can be a few days to months as needed.