By Ankita Thomas, SCN
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth came to Nepal on April 18, 1979, and in 1990 Nepal Nazareth Society was established. Ever since, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have worked toward women’s empowerment.
Navjyoti Women’s Training Centre in Kathmandu, a unit of the Nepal Nazareth Society, was founded by Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1988. Seeing how girls were neglected and not given formal education, the Sisters started the program initially by holding adult literacy classes and a skill training program for girls from rural areas. Noticing that this program was not giving the desired outcome, five years later, it was reshaped into a training program for young women. Hundreds of young women have come through this center over the past decades and they play vital roles in their respective villages.
This program, named the “Rural Women Animator’s Training Programme,” began in 1993 as a residential program, and its vision was to empower rural women to be effective animators in their own communities. These women are made aware of their present condition and status, the causes that lead to that status, and what they can do to improve their status in life. They are given guidance and help for personal growth, needed information on various aspects related to improving the quality of their life, basic education and skill training.
At present, there are six women doing a residential program at Navjyoti Women’s Training Centre. All these women are from an economically backward group from rural villages. The Centre also educates two small girls who go to the nearby school. Women are given various training, such as tailoring, a beautician course, craft work, cooking etc., along with classes on health and hygiene, legal aids and family life. After graduation, most of the women start their own tailoring shop, or work with others. The training helps them to sustain themselves along with their family and develop their talents. They are good at making beautiful earrings, stitching dresses, garments and more.
Along with this training, Navjyoti Centre hosts various outreach programs to support the village people. Villagers are given free agricultural training and supplied seedlings and manure.
The Centre is also working with prisoners of Dilibazar Sadar, Khore (Jail), giving them skill training. Many prisoners and their children are provided rehabilitation through the efforts of the Centre.
Navjyoti Women’s Training Centre is a beacon of hope for many young women as it helps them to be empowered and enables them to sustain their lives in a better way. Many Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have contributed to the growth of this center in the past, and presently SCNs Meera Bilung and Priya Urau take care of the day-to-day activities of the Women’s Training Centre and outreach program.