Project Nepal Turning Trash into Treasure
Project Nepal – Beni products, as it says on the brochure, gives ‘a second life to rubbish’, but it does more than that. The products made out of recycled material in the Beni store are made by women working in rural areas that have been given a second chance.
Beni has been teaching ladies how to turn trash into treasure for the past eight years. After a slow start, Beni is now working with 107 ladies mostly from the Ganesh Himal region. Beni holds group training sessions with the women and teaches them how to source material, how to clean it and turn it into one of the creations found in the store.
More importantly, after the training the women can return to their villages and work from home. “It’s a hard society for women” Beni says, referring to the embedded inequality that women face in Nepal, particularly in rural areas. “I want to empower them by teaching them skills”.
The majority of Nepali people live in rural areas and face many obstacles in accessing education and economic opportunities. In a patriarchal society like Nepal, women are particularly hindered.
According to the Human Development Report in 2009, gender inequality in Nepal is demonstrated by the formal and informal rules that dictate women’s participation in regards to opportunities, decision- making, access to resources, and women’s control over resources.
Beni hopes that the women in her project will set an example showing that women have an equal part in society in terms of thinking, leaning, creating as well as earning a basic income. Beni says that often the women involved in the project “didn’t get a chance to learn things” because they are denied access to education.
Figures from 2010 showed that the literacy disparity between men and women in Nepal is vast. The literacy rate for Nepali men is 62.7 per cent, and women’s literacy is a meagre 34.9 per cent.
A strong advocate for women’s rights, Beni says that she wants to show that women “have a right to education, to learn, to speak…. we are equal”
According to the The Asia Foundation, ‘increasing women’s economic opportunities are paramount for women to improve their lives and take control of their futures’.
Beni says that after the training, the women involved in the project feel a sense of accomplishment when they realise “they are not useless, they can create, they can think”.
The article is the property of New Spotlight News Magazine.