the Sammunat Nepal project…A Colourful Journey
Samunnat Nepal began when some Nepalese friends wanted to help women escape domestic violence and trafficking. They know that many women in Nepal are extremely vulnerable to violence and exploitation. They also know that simply rescuing them or giving them financial assistance is only a short term and ultimately short-sighted solution.
They decided to work with the women and provide:
- Free or affordable legal assistance;
- Advocacy and human rights training;
- Specific income-generating skill training
- Counselling for the women as required; and
- Support as the women re-establish themselves and their families in new communities. They knew that this was particularly important as the women are sometimes unwelcome in their home towns.
The friends used their own funds to form Samunnat Nepal which was registered as a non-government organisation (NGO) in 2007.
The NGO registration number is 1562 and the Social Welfare Council registration number is 26793. Samunnat Nepal continues to grow in scope and energy. We are largely sustained by the sale of our gorgeous products by Samunnat Inc., an NGO based in Australia. For vulnerable women there is now hope, colour and laughter where there was once sadness!
Ramrosanga jannuhos (Go Well)
How our program works
Women come to Samunnat Nepal for help because they’ve heard about our work from other women or are referred by the police or other government organisations. Some times they have heard about us on the radio or read a newspaper article about women’s rights by Kopila Basnet, one of the founders.
We respond to each woman’s individual needs so the nature and length of programs varies greatly. With experience we discovered that one size fits all programs…didn’t work. Some women face complicated legal situations and need support until there has been a satisfactory conclusion. Others want counselling, income generation training and other support until they can establish a safe home for themselves and their children. Sometimes, Samunnat helps to resolve a family conflict or negotiates a solution that means a woman only needs our service for a short time.
Most women stay connected with Samunnat Nepal after their situation has improved-even if it only to visit and say Namaste when they are nearby! Some come back to help as mentors, board members or trainers. Many women join the micro-finance Cooperative that Samunnat ladies have established. Some borrow a small amount from the Cooperative to get their business (such as vegetable stores or selling dairy products) going. Many want to contribute in some way to the organisation that helped them to get on their feet.
Over a dozen women make beautiful polymer jewellery which is sold by our support organisation Samunnat Inc. Their work has been featured in a number of international polymer clay publications like this and this.