Journey of searching a value

“I failed to succeed in social work because I am a woman and still many societies consider that woman has no value. That is why I have been trying to find women’s value in the society. Now I am in the situation to do something from my part for the welfare of women. We are opposed and are resisted by many intellectuals on discussions where we tend to speak for our rights. And succeeding in such environment is actually retaining ones value as a women.” the statement is said by Subhadra Devi Mahato, 31, resident of Bagdaha VDC, Sarlahi. She has two sons and one daughter. After she joined women’s saving and credit on 2000, she started working to bring up the value of women. She said,” I heard about the formation of women’s group and I also joined the group. I was chosen as a chairperson by the group as I had passed 8 standards. I have participated in various trainings and workshops representing the group. I have received a reflect facilitator training and I did learn many from the training. I became aware about the fact that we women should struggle to achieve rights. Initially, it became a major issue as an opening veil but now the thrust is lessening”. She said this when she was at the reflect facilitator program,” I had to attend the facilitator meeting frequently. I knew the importance to attend the meeting so I started having my lunch before my father in law and mother in law to attend the meeting on time. My mother in law was not satisfied with this. She pretended that food became impure and she could not eat food and started whispering to her husband. I was beaten for this reason. But I never felt disappointed. I started sharing my knowledge in front of my family. Gradually, my family accepted and things are turning to normal. I was selected as chairperson of women’s cooperative during my job. I felt  other members trust on me increasing.” She again said, “The Secretary asked me about my representation on political party when I went to the VDC council to propose a budget for women’s development activities. There I said I was not from any political party but I was from a women’s cooperative. He said there is no value of women organization, only a party has value. He did not accept my proposal. Then I asked who the political leader was. He grasped my copy and listed down 10 leaders’ name. (I have that copy safely till now). I also got angry and said,” You did not respect women, I would definitely come back to prove to you our existence.” The same thing happened last year as well when I went to VDC office to get recommendation to be facilitator of literacy class run by National employee management center. The Secretary said that one should pass SLC to be recommended and so he ignored to do it. I have only passed grade 8. I also warned him about our women’s group. After that only he made the recommendation. There I made a commitment right in front of him to show him my SLC certificate”. She said laughing,” that is why I attended the SLC exam this year and I have passed on first division.”

In case of her involvement these days she mentioned,’ I have been involved as a secretary of Women’s Rights Forum (WRF) in women’s participation on violence against women and development activities to raise their voice. Nowadays parties have been inviting me to their programs. I am also the treasurer of a party at a sector level committee. Nowadays people are inviting me to settle quarrels in the village. The people who are the so called intellectuals try to bring me down and try to blame on my character when I involve in such problem solving duties. And I have always dared to stand against this social stigma. I thought about women’s involvement in development and construction work, so I have also taken responsibility on road maintenance.” Then she showed the contract paper of Rs 200,000 for the maintenance of the road from Gaudeta to Ramban. Again she said about her changes, “I was at home with veil. After I joined the women’s group, I got opportunity to receive various women’s rights training and workshops. It encouraged me a lot. In addition, I can never forget the confidence and daring nature of Najbool Khan. I miss her a lot. I remember the VDC secretary embarrassing me. He may actually may have encouraged me. I am more committed now and I have promised myself to be the chairperson of the VDC one day. Then he can learn about our true value. For this, I have started my journey.

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