By Roselyn Karakattu, SCN

The International Day of the Girl Child (October 11) was celebrated in a unique way at the Sister’s ministry of Navjyoti Center in Dharan, Nepal.

Over the last two years, Navjyoti Center has been investing in skills training for young women, access to technology, and other initiatives that prepare girls for life, jobs and leadership.

In recognition of the importance of investing in adolescent girl’s empowerment both now and in the future, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2015 declared by the United Nations is, The power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030. Following up on this theme, the staff of Navjoyti gathered around 50 adolescent girls at the center for a celebration cum training. The input given by Miss Shanti Shrestha, a BSC nursing graduate, focused on adolescents girls and their reproductive health, hygiene, nutrition, physical, mental, and emotional well being. The atmosphere was very friendly and the girls asked many questions related to menstruation and related problems they often face.

Other topics discussed were, early marriage, sexual violence, and trafficking of young girls which continue to be a serious problem in Nepal. The girls were formed into age groups where they could interact and share freely with their group members the problems faced by the adolescents in their families and society.

In an evaluation held at the end of the day the girls expressed gratitude to the resource person, to the organization and requested that such short workshops be held for them in the future too.

The census report of 2011 reveals that adolescent girls account for 23.45% of the total female population of Nepal. The severe earthquake disaster faced by Nepal this year had a great impact on the lives of children and adolescents. The Post Disaster Risk Assessment issued by the National Planning Commission highlighted that girls living in earthquake hit areas face heightened risks of sexual and gender based violence, human trafficking, and child marriage. As the country recovers from this calamity it is a crucial moment that we Sisters too join hands with the government and other groups to ensure the safety and security of this vulnerable age group and promote their holistic powers.

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