Common women with uncommon passion to help others are awarded.
When Shrijana Singh Yonjan started Celebrating Womanhood Navadevi Awards in 2002, it was more a fashion program where the who’s who of Kathmandu Valley gathered for a night of entertainment. Twelve years later, it is one of the most awaited award ceremonies which recognises the extraordinary achievements of ordinary Nepali women from Surkhet to Solukhumbu. From literary geniuses to athletes with disabilities, more than 100 women have been rewarded in the past decade. The award recipients have not only fought gender stereotypes, but earned the respect of local communities through their dogged determination and altruism. The women also get the opportunity to build networks with fellow awardees and potential investors.
Among this year’s reward winners were Parbati Dagora, a former Kamaiya turned activist, and Meena Kharel who established Women Development Centre in Chitwan. A special ‘citation’ was presented to a 13-year-old rape victim, who despite objections from her family and neighbours, fought for justice and successfully put her perpetrator behind bar.
And the winners are …
• Meena Kharel, Women’s rights advocate, Chitwan
• Nanda Devi Kunwar, Chairpersonof Madhumalati Community Forest Group, Kailali
• Kalpana Karki, Secretary of Mahila Sirjansheel Parivar, Sindhupalchok
• Parbati Dagora, Chairperson of Aama Samuha, Kanchanpur
• Ritu Gyamdan, River guide, Rasuwa
• Keshari Thapa, Educator, Dharan
• Laxmi Bhushal, Radio presenter and actress, Kathmandu
• Radio Udayapur, A radio station run by women under 30, Udayapur
• Makwanpur Mahila Samuha, a women’s group fighting against discrimination towards HIV patients, Makwanpur