Tips & Advice
- 05 December 2013
- by Megan Foo
Women LEAD, a nonprofit organization in Nepal focused on empowering young girls to be leaders, is excited to announce the launch of its month-long campaign to raise $10,000 to sponsor scholarships for 160 young women leaders! By donating to this campaign, you are not just investing in one woman; you’re investing in the future of Nepal, and the future of our society. Donate, spread the word, and help us change Nepal, one young woman leader at a time.
Volunteering with Women LEAD, first as a blogger and subsequently as the Founder and President of Women LEAD’s Hong Kong Chapter, has opened my eyes to the harrowing reality that many girls in Nepal face: the reality of being denied a quality education. For many girls in Nepal, the prospect of going to school remains an idealistic chimera, a distant dream that hovers beyond reach.
But more significantly, volunteering with Women LEAD has taught me about the importance of leveraging the power of women. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once said, “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world”. The impact of giving a girl an education reverberates in myriad contexts, changing the very fabric of our society. Claire Charamnac, the co-founder and United States Executive Director of Women LEAD, is the living exemplar of the advocate who is hell-bent on triggering a revolution in girls’ education. As a young female leader, Claire understands the importance of empowering girls with the same opportunities as those given to boys and believes absolutely in the power of women to create change in their communities and nation.
Women LEAD operates in Nepal, a landlocked country famed for its undulating hills and majestic monasteries. Nepal’s breathtaking Annapurna range and outstanding heritage sites, however, belie the grim reality faced by many girls of economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Claire notes that in Nepal, 60% percent of women are illiterate and one third of girls ages 15-19 are married. Only 18% of Nepali women have a secondary education or higher, and 10% of the country’s leaders are women. However, the dedicated team of volunteers at Women LEAD works with the belief that education, including leadership training, is critical in lifting girls out of poverty and breaking the glass ceiling. Women LEAD’s Leadership Institute’s results are astonishing: 90% of Women LEAD’s graduates are attending university in Nepal, India, the USA and Bangladesh.
The girls who come into Women LEAD’s programs lack family support for their academic and vocational choices, have limited access to financial and educational resources needed for their professional success, and lack self-confidence and work skills. Women LEAD’s programs, however, provide young women with leadership skills not just for the future, but starting today. Over the course of the leadership programs, Women LEAD’s participants actively channel their skills and knowledge to empower hundreds of girls in their community. Leadership workshops for younger girls offer discussions around issues typically swept under the rug, including domestic violence, reproductive education, gender-based discrimination and corporal punishment. Women LEAD’s dynamic Internship Track allows women to intern at Nepali NGOs and hone their professional skills, gaining work experience in their chosen field.
By giving to this incredible cause and sponsoring scholarships for these women leaders, you will engender a safe community of young leaders where women realize that their opinions, passions and talents matter. Through Women LEAD’s School Leadership and Internship Tracks, women will learn more about themselves and their country, and potentially spearhead Nepal’s political and economic initiatives. By investing in these girls’ educations, you will be empowering young women to gain confidence in their skills, and encouraging them to raise their voices and become the vanguards for change.