Now more than ever, women have started focusing and exploring their identities for who they are and what they can give as an individual. They are questioning their existence rather than believing other’s perceptions of how and what they should be. They are now carrying a certain kind of eagerness to make an impact on what they firmly believe.
We celebrate March 8 as International Women Day.
Honoring the journey of a woman throughout her life, her struggles, accomplishments, and her contributions, we celebrate this day to commemorate all women’s freedom, happiness, womanhood, and tremendous patience, resilience, and courage.
So, let us rejoice this day by diving into the story of powerful and encouraging women of our country. About their struggles and achievements, and how they individually manifested the true essence of being a woman.
1. Aunradha Koirala
- DOB: 14 April 1949
- POB: Rumjatar
- Occupation: Social Activist
- Parents: Colonel Pratap Singh Gurung, Laxmi Gurung
- Spouse: Dinesh Prasad Koirala (Separated or Divorced)
- Children: Manish Koirala
Anuradha Koirala is the founder of Maiti Nepal and a social activist. She is regarded as the “Mother Teresa” of our country for her works and contributions. Saviour of hundreds and thousands of girls and women, she is an angel and a blessing for what she did and is doing.
She pursued her education from St. Joseph Convent School of Kalimpong, India, and there she discovered her drive for serving people. She got married at a very young age and became a victim of domestic violence. Searching for help she had nowhere to go except for an organization that would help her.
She started her journey on the 14th of April, 1949 with lots of struggles and hurdles on the way but no, she didn’t quit. Mrs. Koirala established “Maiti Nepal” in 1993 with a tiny proportion of what she had back then. But eventually, her small organization was backed by UNICEF and now Maiti Nepal holds an ample amount of branches all over Nepal.
- Best Worker of the year in 1994
- Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu Medal in 1999
- Fourth highest civilian award in India
- Mother Teresa Awards
- Queen Sofia Silver Medal Award
- Padma Shri Award
- CNN Hero in 2010
- Collectively she has received 38 national and international awards
Founder and Executive director of Maiti Nepal, her organization has been conducting countless activities such as women empowerment, social awareness, skill development, and counseling. It has also been providing antiretroviral therapy to those affected by HIV AIDS.
It not just prevents girls and women from being the victims of sex slaves but also saves those who have been through that hell. So, rehabilitation services are also the major attention for Maiti Nepal.
In addition, Maiti Nepal has also been working on providing security on the border by patrolling the Indo-Nepal border with the help of law enforcement authorities and police. Mrs.Koirala has devoted herself to saving the girls and women from human traffickers.
The lesson that every individual can learn from Anuradha Koirala is to become simple and purposeful. Risking everything for what you believe in is something that strikes us deeply.
2. Jhamak Ghimire
- Birth Details
- DOB: 10 July 1980
- POB: Kachide, Dhankuta, Nepal
- Occupation: Writer
Born on the outskirts of Lachide Village of the Dhankuta district in Nepal, her life was bound to be filled with tragedy. She was a disabled child from birth who was paralyzed all but her feet. Although she could not speak, walk nor use her hands she could still listen. But that was her curse as well.
Watching and learning from the discarded pages from her sibling’s books and practicing with the discarded pencil tips, she learned to write her first letter with her blood, sweat, and tears but no one appreciated it. However, this became the turning point in her life as after this defeat she fueled her fire to learn. She soon learned how to read and the first book she read was Bhanu bhakta Acharya’s Ramayana. Getting inspired by this book she soon began to write and once she began to write there was no stopping.
- Kabita Ram Bal Sahitya Prativa Puraskar 2015 Aswikrit Bichar Sahitya Andolan
- Aswikrit Bichar Sahitya Puraskar 2016 Aswikrit Bichar Sahitya Andolan
- Madan Puraskar
Sankalpa, Aafnai Chita Agni Shikha Tir, Manche Bhitra Ka Yoddha, and Quanti are her poetry works. Awasan Pachhiko Aagaman is her other work. Jhamak Kumari Ghimire has written her autobiography named “Jiwan Kada Ki Phool” (Life is Thorn or a Flower). For her beautifully written memoir, Jhamak Ghimire was awarded the Madan Puraskar. Besides, Ghimire was awarded by Kabita Ram Bal Sahitya Prativa Puraskar 2015, Aswikrit Bichar Sahitya Puraskar 2016, and Madan Puraskar (2010).
Lessons to be learned from her
At times of desperation sometimes we find our will to fight !
Just because you have a bad start doesn’t mean that you will end bad- it all depends on how much you are willing to change it.
There is no such thing as a fixed fate- as long as you fight to change it, it can be changed.
3. Muskan Khatun
- DOB: 2004
- POB: Birgunj, Parsa
- Occupation: social rights activist
- Parents: Rasul Ansari
She was just an average student, enjoying her life, learning, and growing until that unfaithful event. Born in the bustling town of Birgunj, Muskan Khatun enjoyed an average childhood filled with love from her parents and family. She was just another teen filled with dreams and hopes along with the usual teenage drama. But one of these dramas changed her life.
There was a guy that had been pursuing her for a long time. However, since she did not have any feelings towards that guy she rejected his approach. The guy whom she rejected made a plan to throw acid on her face and involved his friend in this event. As per the reports say their plan was to ask Muskan the reason for her rejection and then regardless of the answer throw a bottle of acid to ruin her life.
After this incident and surviving the attack, she collaborated with many of the acid attack survivors to pass the law that punishes such actions.
International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award 2021
She was a major player in getting laws passed for tough action against perpetrators in Nepal and was among the influencing people who campaigned for this legislative act.
Lessons learned from her
One mishap doesn’t mean the end of life – you can still live and grow
To fight for oneself is good but to fight for ones like you – those in injustice – now that is a mark of a hero.
4. Durga Singh Chand
- DOB: -NA-
- POB: -NA-
- Occupation: SP Officer
- Parents: -NA-
Hired as inspectors in 1994
Investigation into the rape and murder case of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant.
Led as Superintendent of Police of Metropolitan Police Range, Jawalakhel on a case against a police officer on beating a bystander female with a child during an event where the bystander – Hema Shrestha went on to see a commotion caused by protest
Arrested a man who raped his 14 year old step-daughter
Lessons to be learned from her
Justice won’t be there unless you seek for it- as long as you stay silent, no one’s gonna see the injustice happening to you
Whatever male can do, females can as well, whether it is physically taxing as lifting weight or mentally taxing as solving crime
5. Sneha Shrestha
Sneha Shrestha is an Animal Activist, with one of the largest animal welfare charities in Nepal. She is the founder of Sneha’s care whose sole purpose is to protect the street and community dogs from torture, cruelty, or ill-usage of any kind. Sneha and her team provide professional medical and humane care to injured, sick, and abandoned dogs and other street animals in its animal shelter. Sneha care moves forward with the belief that in the actions of individuals, business and government, no animals should be exploited
Before starting Sneha’s care, Sneha was not fond of any animals, until she adopted two puppies. She soon fell in love with their loyalty, kindness, and tenderness. She was always greeted by her beloved dogs when they came back from work. But one day, one of her dogs was found vomiting blood and she came to find out that her dog was poisoned by a neighbor. Sneha was devastated by this and even did ‘kriya karma’ for after the deceased dog.
Soon after Sneha started feeding street dogs wherever she went and came into notice that many of the dogs had injuries and desperately needed treatment. She then started paying for space at a kennel to give dogs care and shelter. But within a month the kennel was full and was satisfied with how the kennel was run. She then took matters into her own hands and opened a shelter which is known today as Sneha’s care.
Till date, Sneha has been providing treatments and shelter to injured dogs. She is funded by many people within the country and outside as well. She is the one of the loudest frontlines of animal advocacy not only in Nepal, but in the whole of Asia. She now not only is an advocate for dogs, but for buffaloes, cats ,cows and other domestic animals as well. Sneha moves forward with the tagline “ I want to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Sneha was nominated as Youth icon of the Year by Women with Vision’s 100 Most Influential Women of Nepal. She successfully campaigned for the Nepalese government to adopt the country’s first animal protection law.
Till date, there are many injured and paralyzed dogs in Sneha’s shelter, where there are treatments being done. From Sneha’s story we should acknowledge that all living creatures should be helped in their difficult times. No matter who or what these creatures are we should provide the best we can so that they can prosper in this wonderful place as peacefully and gracefully as us.
6. Mira Rai
- DOB: 31 December 1988
- POB: Bhojpur
Born on December 31, 1998, Mira Rai is a professional trail runner and a sky runner. Mira Rai was in a remote village called Sanodumma in Bhojpur up in the east. She was born in an underprivileged family who struggled to meet the daily necessities. Born in the house of a farmer, she had to leave her education at the age of 12 to help her parents in the daily household chores. She walked regularly up and down the mountainous terrain to collect water and go to the market.
One fine night at the age of 14, she left her home without telling her parents and joined the Maoist insurgency. At the age of 14, she then returned home as she was a minor and was ineligible for integration into the Nepal Army. With the dream of doing something more, she travelled to Kathmandu to pursue her passion in karate and running.
Mina Rai started her racing journey from the 50 km Himalayan Outdoor Festival trail race. Despite being unprepared, without adequate food and water, or wearing technical running clothes, she won the race. She has represented Nepal in many international competitions and has won numerous awards. She won the Ben Nevis Ultra and Mont-Blanc 80 km with a new time-record. Other than that she has participated and won many race tournaments from the year 2014 to 2017.
Even though Nepal is a developing country with obsolete thoughts and beliefs, Mina Rai has broken all stereotypes regarding female equality. She joined the maoist insurgency when she was 14, and traveled to Kathmandu to pursue her dreams, such a feat needs dedication and self belief. With a story like hers, we can inspire and motivate ourselves into doing things better in life.
Today, Mira Rai is still running the trails hoping to meet new people and inspire them with her story and to run. She founded Mina Rai Initiative in 2017, a platform and voice to empower trail running in Nepal, especially female and promote trail running as the mainstream adventure sport in Nepal.
7. Sapana Roka Magar
18 years old, born in Baranha, Sapana Roka Magar is a social worker who has actively been involved in finding unattained bodies of the deceased and carrying out their last rites at Pashupati Aryaghat. She was born on February 10, 2002 at the hands of Jit Prasad Roka Magar and Nanu Roka Moka Magar. At the age of 16, she eloped with a teenage boy but soon became homeless as the relationship broke down and became homeless. While living in the streets she became acquainted with an NGO named Homeless Management and Rehabilitation Center and started working with them.
For the past three years, Sapana and her team have been providing traditional Hindu funeral rites for unidentified and abandoned deceased bodies. Especially during the Covid-19 period, the number of dead at cremation sites were increasing by four times than pre-pandemic levels. She performed all their final rites according to the Hindu religion.
Sapana was included by the BBC as 100 women of 2020, a yearly list of inspiring and influential women from around the world. She was honoured with this title as her work of providing a helping hand to the people in need. She was praised by many influential people because of her work and her being featured in BBC’s 100 women of 2020.
Even though she had a humble beginning, with good grades at her school it all changed when she eloped with a boy. Her elopement started a painful and a dark past, as she had to go through many problems. But she did not give up on herself and started contributing to society, which resulted in becoming a recognized personnel. Her story tells us that no matter who, how or where you are, your actions will be rewarded gracefully if you keep on doing the right work.
8. Ambica Shrestha
Ambica Shrestha is an entrepreneur who paved the path for women to start out as their independency in different sectors. She proved that believing in the aim makes a difference with how she established Dwarika Hotel with her husband Dwarika Das Shrestha. Born in Sikkim and raised there in well off Pradhan family, she didn’t have to face any gender based discrimination from her family. That boosted her confidence to believe in herself. This boosted her to bring the change in NEpal after being married to Dwarika and settling back here. Her family here were conservative and discriminating which hampered her personal growth. So in time they moved out from the joint family.
Working as a Travel agency worker, Ambica started to focus on Tourism with a simple motive of saving the cultural aspects of designs that were historically important. Dwarika was the collector of Woods and to help the cultural importance of this, they established the hotel with 3 rooms and the carved traditional designs. Building these interests into a work ethic they brought the base of high-end heritage hotels and fulfilled its form from Ambica’s Travel agency contacts.
After the death of her husband, her family started to demotivate her through various means, but she was never discouraged to achieve her aim as she believed in it. This is how she brought Dwarika Hotel to its form as we can see it now. During these long years of struggle, She has been recognized as the influencer for the youth women in Nepalese society.
She is the honorary consulate General of Spain for Nepal and is heading Nepalese Heritage Society and Business and Professional Women and works to preserve cultural heritage of Nepal. Her works have motivated women to step out of their comfort zone and stand for themselves. This has acclaimed her high prestige in our country and International stages too.
Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 4th by His Majesty the King of Nepal, Prakhyat Trishakti Patta by His Majesty the King of Nepal, Badge of Honour by BPW International, Decoration of the Cruz de Official De la Orden De Isabel La Catolica – His Majesty the King Juan Carlos I, SPAIN and the highest Award in Rotary “Service Above Self Award.
9. Sushila Karki
- DOB: 7 June 1952
- POB: Biratnagar, Morang
- Occupation: -NA-
- Parents: -NA-
- Spouse: -NA-
- Children: -NA-
Sushila Karki is the influencer in Nepalaese society who has portrayed the image for women empowerment through her works. She is the former Chief of Justice in supreme court where she served from 13 April, 2016 to 10 July 2016. She is the first female to have held the prestigious post.
Coming from the farmer family background with seven children, she wanted to change the status. She completed her Bachelor in Arts degree and went on to complete her Masters degree in Political science. Furthermore, she completed her Law degree in 1978. Developing on from these education fields, started her law practice in Biratnagar.Her teaching career as an assistant teacher took place in Mahendra Multiple Campus, Dharan.
She became senior advocate in 2007 after a long law career. And gradually from Ad hoc to permanent Justice. Then on 13th April of 2016 she became the first woman Chief Justice of the Supreme court proving that bringing change has to be from oneself and their belief on it.
10. Anupama Khunjeli
Being the first female CEO of a major commercial bank of Nepal, Anupama Khunjeli has influenced and made an impact to change the status of women in Nepal. A climbing steps from position to position with her dedication to her belief, she reached the state of Decision making authority, which no women had achieved before.
A sports fanatic who dealt with most of the sports as her interest wanted to be a sportsperson. Studying in St. Mary’s she had the opportunity to try out with the most of it. BUt when she indulged in Account, she wanted to go through with it. Having a shot for higher education, she went to India, but bringing it back to her roots, she came back to pursue Accountancy from Shankar Dev Campus.
Starting from assistant level of working in Grindlays Bank, and progressing through to be the CEO of Mega Bank, she worked her way along the path of different jobs and it was a long and progressive journey.
The men-ridden world of banking got the lady boss as the leader, which has been a force of encouragement for the Nepalese women.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A Woman is like a tea bag you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water”, all these outstanding women have set themselves on fire to realize their true potential. These are the personalities from whom we all Nepalese are really proud.
So, let’s learn from them to be the heroes of our own life, to create an impact and to be the change.
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