WOMEN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, single women group (WHR)
"No discrimination on the basis of marital status"
Progress of WHR at National and International Level
- Received Special Consultative Status in ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) in the United Nations in 2011
Highlighted the plight of single women of Nepal at the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women) and United Nations Commission of Status of Women (CSW).
- Organized the “International Conference on Capacity Building of Single Women (widows) in 2005 which declared “The Kathmandu Widows Charter” on the basis of human rights instruments like CEDAW, CSW, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 & Beijing Platform of Action.
The secretariat for South Asian Network for Widow’s Empowerment in Development (SANWED),a new initiative in the South Asian region to uphold widows’ human rights in all aspects of their lives; end to their poverty and marginalization; and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against them – legal, social, cultural and economic.
- Organized International Conference on Widowhood: “Widows voices –Empowered” 2010 and Kathmandu Declaration was developed which demanded to have special Rapporteur for Widows and need to have separate desk at N to look after widows issues.
WHR currently has 1550 single women groups in 73 districts with a membership base of over 100,000. These single women are organized and trained to act as agents of change in their respective communities.
- Lobbied with the government to collect data on widows and now Nepal is the second country in the South Asian Region after India to have data on widowhood at National level
Incorporated the issues of single women in 10th and 11th five-year plan and also in 3 year interim plan of Nepal which has helped to promote the issues of single women at national and international levels.
- Formed the National Network for Single Women which includes the Ministry of Women and other national & international organizations
Trained and mobilized thousands of single women as change agents which resulted in decreasing violence at local level
- Raised issues concerning the need for social security schemes for single women at the national level which has been reflected in the Directive Principles and Policies of the Interim Constitution 2006.
For the first time in history The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) announced its decision to set up an Emergency Trust Fund solely for the single women (widows) in Nepal and declared its decision to develop a National Action Plan for Widows in Nepal in which WHR will be included in drafting, preparing and enforcing this plan.
- Nepalese Government allocated budget for the social security allowance (widows Allowances ) to all the single women regardless of age in the 2068/069 National Policy and Programs
- Establishment of Single Women Emergency Fund has been approved by Women Children and Social Welfare Ministry 5th June 2013.
Through constant lobbying and raising awareness, WHR has successfully changed many discriminatory laws against single women, such as:
- The deceased husband’s property no longer needs to be returned after remarriage.
- Selling or changing property ownership don’t require the consent of adult sons and unmarried daughters.
- Single women no longer need to wait till the age of 35 years to inherit deceased husband’s property.
- Single women do not have to remain in the chastity of their deceased husband to inherit property.
- Protest against the Government Budgetary policy on providing NRs. 50000 to couple who marries widow and amended the policy.
- Single women no longer need to take consent of male family member to obtain a passport.
- Government has announced the practice of Vaikalya (child widows) as ill-practice that should not be continued.
WHR and its founder Lily Thapa has received following awards from esteemed organizations in and out of Nepal.
- Awarded as Best Social Worker of the Year by “Karma Badri Bikram Smriti Sewa Guthi” in 2008
- Recognition from “Mahilaka Lagi Manachitra Sanchar Samuha” in 2008
- Awarded by “Rastriya Puraskar Pratisthan” in 2008.
- Awarded as Best Entrepreneur by Boss Magazine (2007).
- American Biographical Institute recognized Lily Thapa as great women of 21st century in 2006.
- Awarded as Best Women Manager of the Year (2006) by Management Association of Nepal (MAN)
- Awarded by Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in 2006
- Awarded as Champions of Change by FNCCI (2004)
- Awarded as Social Worker of the Year 2003 by Gorkha Samaj Kendra
- Awarded as Ashoka Fellow (2001) by Ashoka International, USA
- Awarded the prestigious Praval Jan Sewa Padak medal from the Honorable President His Excellency Dr. Ram Baran Yadav on 5th September 2013.