Teej, a festival where the color ‘red’ is the ultimate favorite! Single Women (widows) are restricted from the color and the festival. Single Women from WHR celebrated Teej on 22nd August, 2014 trying to break the social and cultural barriers. Single Women from nearby districts had come to enjoy and celebrate the day. The mela was a fun and exciting event with traditional Teej music. The dancing to the music was the ultimate highlight of the event. Apart from the good music, there were also many stalls with many items such as cosmetics, accessories, traditional clothes and products by single women home based workers. We also had a stall for ‘Opportunity fund’ where we collected donations for the flood victims at Sindhupalchowk. The fund collected from entry tickets was also accumulated for the flood victims. Everybody enjoyed the mela with good food, good music, shopping, and thankfully a good weather as well and more importantly everybody gave their share for a good cause. The Teej Mela was a very successful event leading to a smile on everyone’s faces at the end of the event.
Nepal underwent a decade long armed conflict causing many deaths and instability in the country. The severities of conflict on people varied and among the most affected were women and girls. Violence, rape and the death of close family members became the inevitable consequences of conflict that women and girls had to endure. Likewise, the pain of disappearance of family members, self-injuries or injuries of the family members, the pain of being abducted and tortured, losing of family members were among different forms of conflict made societal, economical and psychological loss.
Recently, National Conference on Conflict Affected Women (CAW) titled “Journey to Peace and Justice” was organized jointly by Sankalpa-Women’s Alliance for Peace, Justice and Democracy and Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group (WHR). During the National workshop eight thematic groups of conflict affected women were brought together under the same umbrella to raise the common issues and challenges faced by conflict-affected women.
Among the eight thematic groups, one was the challenge of wives of missing husbands. Since, majority of missing person are men, their wives are the one who are deprived of their rights. One of the severe consequences of the conflict have been the cases of disappeared family members during the conflict specially the wives of missing husband. Conflict has been a major cause in raising the number of missing person but people have been missing in Nepal also due to several other reasons such as family issue and pressure and mental disturbance. The family of the disappeared person has to wait for 12 years before the person is considered dead by the law and can perform their final ritual as per the Hindu customs. They also have to wait for 12 years to acquire property rights. This policy has created many difficulties to the family member and their children. They face difficulty while making legal documents such as citizenship, birth certificate, relationship certificate and migration certificate. They are unable to transfer or sell the property in the name of the missing person. Therefore, they face legal, social, and mental as well as economic problem.
This policy needs to be changed; Sankalpa and WHR together is filling a writ at the supreme court in Nepal to challenge the 12 years ban on acquiring property rights for the wives of missing husband and starting a global campaign to support the cause. This advocacy will only be successful through your support and therefore, we request you to participate in it through different way. Please share your valuable opinion, legal provision in your country in regard to missing people issue, any related information, new articles and successful case studies from your country. We will collect your contribution in a form of document and use it during our advocacy process.Here is the link:
Chhahari is run by single women.Our moto is the empowerment of single women as well as strengthening their lives. “Chahhari” in Nepalese means “safe place of shade of solidarity.”It is a center where single women can share their feeling without being judged. It provides rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation. They will be empowered and will be given the opportunity to lead an independent life.
Nepal is a patriarchal society where women mostly play a subordinate role in everyday life. Being a single woman is significantly governed by the cultural and religious beliefs. Single women are looked down upon and are not respected by society. Some are even violated and tortured. With the help of Chhahari, these women find themselves from being a shy and vulnerable to a stronger, confident and economically independent women, When they are economically empowered most of them are socially accepted and respected hereby can live their life with dignity and are independent for their own self and their children.
Chhahari works with single women ; wives of missing husbands, divorcees, unmarried women of 35 years of age or women separated but not divorced from their husband. Our aim is to reach to those places where single women in general need a safe space, a place where they are treated as equals and a place where they are valued and treated with respect and dignity.