Women Awareness Center Nepal

Earthquake Relief Update

On April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The earthquake had a devastating impact. On may 12th, 2015 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck again while the country was still dealing with the tremors from the initial earthquake adding to the fatalities and casualties.

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Background

Nari Chetna Kendra Nepal, also known as Women’s Awareness Centre Nepal (WACN), was established in 1991 by a group of women interested in improving the socio-economic status and self-development capacity of disadvantaged people, particularly women and children.  WACN strives to eliminate all forms of violence through action programs that address the root causes of development issues, mainly poverty and female subordination. Specifically, WACN helps rural women start savings and credit cooperatives, together with community-based development activities, to increase their social and economic power. At present (2011) WACN has registered and developed 41 women’s savings and credit groups, establishing a base of more than 30,000 women members. Together, these cooperatives have saved and invested over 300,000,000 Nepalese Rupees ($4 million).

WACN works with villagers in the Kavre, Chitwan, Makwanpur and Kathmandu Districts to implement its programs, tailoring each to the specific needs of the community. WACN is currently concerned with cooperative-building, the welfare of children, health, sanitation, sustainable agriculture, tree plantations, preservation of natural water resources, advocacy, political participation of women, and trafficking. Where WACN implements its projects,  incidents of violence are drastically reduced; the income generated from WACN-promoted schemes prevents relatives from selling young girls to traffickers. 

Central to our mission at WACN is the belief that, if given the opportunity, women can become confident and competent leaders, overcoming the myriad obstacles that they face in their daily lives. We have found that as local women become involved in WACN-promoted development projects, they begin to gain a voice within their families and communities. Through self development and social action, these women become partners in the process of change. Children are also becoming involved with their mothers' cooperatives, receiving training on gender, legal rights, and cooperatives as formal child members. WACN is particularly concerned with the welfare of children whose labor is exploited such as those engaged in seasonal brick making work. Their participation in cooperative activities prepares them for the next generation of change.