Author: Little Sisters Fund

Relief supply distribution with tents in background

Don’t Forget Nepal’s Women and Girls

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, international attention quickly turned to this tiny country sandwiched between China and India – like “a yam between two boulders” as a local saying goes. More than 8,600 lost their lives in the tragedy, and more than 16,000 were injured. One might think that a natural disaster such as an earthquake would impact people indiscriminately. And yet, even natural disasters are not gender neutral. Not only do natural disasters kill women more than men – in Nepal, 38% of those who lost their lives were women and 17% were girls, while only 30% were men and 14% were boys – the recovery process has a gendered dimension as well. Disasters and crisis situations often exacerbate previously existing dimensions of marginalization, discrimination, and vulnerability. That is precisely what is happening today in Nepal.  Even before the earthquake, women and girls in Nepal faced discrimination, violence, and additional day-to-day difficulties simply as a result of their gender. It is imperative that we consider the gendered dimensions of …

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Looking Out for Little Sisters

I didn’t know the right age for school. When I was a little girl, all my friends were in school but I was not. So I used to ask my father, ‘when can I go to school?’ He always replied, ‘next year.’ I used to dream wearing school uniforms, carrying books in book bag and walking to school. But the ‘next year’ never came to me. One day I asked my seriously sick mother the same question that I used to ask my father. She replied, ‘We can hardly afford food and clothes for you, how can we meet the school expenses?’ Her answer made me realize our situation. These are the words of Bidhya*, a young girl from Nepal. The Issue By many accounts, Nepal is the poorest country in Asia. Gender disparity, especially in education, is a critical issue. UNDP estimates that 66% of Nepalese men can read and write, while only 43% of females can. Young girls who are not in school are particularly susceptible to the injustices of child trafficking for …