An event was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from July 17 to 18, 2017 by SANWED – South Asian Network for Widows Empowerment in Development entitled, “Together We Can!”
Dr. Maria Virginia participated and addressed the event on behalf of the WNC.
Sanwed is an initiative in the South Asian region to uphold widows’ human rights, and eliminate all forms of discrimination and marginalization against widows in society, while striving to reduce poverty and bring widows into the mainstream development process of each member nation.
On July 16, 2017, the invitees attended a special dinner prepared at Chahary, a center for widows in Kathmandu. Chahary is a place where widows and single women can live, work and learn how to reintegrate into the society. They learn to be independent and have the opportunity to continue their education and can earn an income.
The main conference was held in Shankara Hotel in Kathmandu, on July 17, 2017. Mrs. Lily Thapa, Founder/ Strategic Advisor of Women for Human Rights, single women group (WHR) inaugurated the conference. She introduced all the guests including the Vice President of Nepal, Nanda Bahadur Pun.
The next speaker was Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun. He congratulated all the women attending the conference, particularly those coming from South Asian countries.
The speakers at the event were :
Anuradha Wikarmasinghe, Director SFFL, Sri Lanka
Meera Khanna, Vice President Guild of Service, India
Margaret Owen, Ex. Barrister
Dr. Masuma Hasan, President Aurat Foundation from Pakistan
Sumeera Shrestha, Executive Director Women for Human Rights
Bishnumaya Dhungana Bhutanese Refugee Women Forum
Dr. Ferdous Ara Begum, Former member of CEDAW, from Bangladesh
Khagaraj Baral ,Secretary of Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, Government of Nepal
Gajendra Kumar Thakur, Secretary of Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction , Government of Nepal
The contribution and experience of regional and international guests helped strengthen the commitments towards empowerment of widows mainstreaming them in national and regional levels.
On July 18, 2017, the conference was moved to Nuwakot ( 75km from Kathmandu) – The district which contains places of historical significance such as seven-storey old palace located at the top of hill named after the district itself, but the palace is damaged due to earthquake. Speakers addressed the guests and discussed solutions to empowering widows. Dr. Maria Virginia also addressed the event on behalf of the WNC and gave a report on the rights of widows and single women and the solutions to empower them.
Welcome dinner prepared by the widows of Chhahari – a safe space for widows
“Together We Can” meeting – Inauguration session July 17, 2017