“I was raised in a rural area in south China. In our village, the old-fashioned value of “boys are more superior than girls” was deep-rooted in the older generation’s minds. In our traditional culture, men are meant to be the successor in the families, the ones who pass on the heritage and blood. I once asked - “How about girls? What’s the meaning of life for women?” People replied in total confidence, ‘Women's principle goal is to marry well. They should serve husbands, bear children, cook and clean for the family. The last thing a woman need is ambition.’ Growing up, I observed girls being mistreated and neglected in terms of education, opportunities and parental affection, due to this one thing – their gender. I was too young to understand love, but even then, I knew that girls were receiving way less love than boys. Given this childhood experience, I want to inspire young woman in developing countries to fulfill their potential.”
- Olivia Shen
With a mission in mind, Claire and I packed our bags and joined a volunteering program that involves teaching English to primary school kids in a rural area called Chitwan, Nepal. To our surprises, the girls (students) greeted us with overwhelming joyful energy and excitement. They herded around us, hugged us and told us we were sooo cute 😊 We said, “You are cute too!”
In our classes, the students showed respect, engaged in the exercises and were eager to learn. What a great bunch! In the first class, they were asked to write down “What’s your dream? And who is your role model?” The girls felt inspired and came up with their desires and anticipations for the future at this young and innocent age. “A lawyer!” “A doctor!” “A dancer!” they raised their hands.
“A social worker!” A Nepalese girl said passionately.
“Tell me more.”
“Women do not have sufficient rights and justice in our country. Some of them are not able to get proper education and are even considered a witch in some rare cases! I would love to be a social worker who can then empower women in Nepal!”
We were deeply moved by the sincerity of this young girl. In Nepal, a study showed that 51% of women do not have the privilege to receive proper education. What’s worse? The outrageous “child marriage” syndrome is still common in Nepal due to limitations of funds, restricted mindsets and a lack of education. In fact, the country has the third highest child marriage prevalence in South Asia, according to UNFPA data 2019.
In addition, the conditions of the school facilities can also be improved. As you can see in the pictures, the classrooms are dark, the lamps are dim, the walls can be repainted, and they don’t have proper table tennis or badminton court. Despite all the facts, what we saw was a group of happy, energetic and ambitious girls who deserve a bright future just like we do!
Therefore, we would like to invite you to support our Nepalese-Girls-Empowerment Campaign that consists of a variety of initiatives such as school facilities re-amp and donations to local charities that offer women education, health care and career direction. We would like to execute our visions before Nepalese New Year which is 13 April 2020. At the same time, we will also climb up to the famous Mt Everest Base Camp – Gokyo Lake and put up a sign of this campaign there. The minimum donation is only $10.
We hope to take you on the journey of this mission with us. The donation will improve the school environment and, quite literally, change Nepalese girls’ lives! We won’t be able to accomplish our fundraising goal without your help. Hope you have a great Xmas and Happy New Year. Much appreciated!Olivia Shen & Claire Sun