When 13-year-old Jaylam, from village of Gaur in Southern Nepal first heard about Rupantaran, she was eager to join. The 9-month educational program known in English as Transformation promised to teach her social, financial, and health skills with other girls just like her.
For a girl who had never been to school, this was an exciting opportunity.
When her father heard of Rupantaran, however, he was skeptical. In their rural community, it is considered taboo to educate girls. Despite the assurances of the community mobilizer offering the program, he decided to observe the classroom setting for himself, to determine if what they were teaching was in violation with his culture and religion.
What he saw changed his opinion completely.
The educational program was neither taboo nor inappropriate. It was an opportunity for girls to learn to better themselves and, by extension, their families and communities. He agreed that Jaylam should join.
“We didn’t realize in the initial days that she would learn so many things which are useful for us as well,” he added. “Sending our girls to such activities not only provides knowledge and skills to them, but also benefits us.”
For Jaylam, it has done more than give her knowledge: it has given her a career pathway. Thanks to the influence of the community mobilizer, Jaylam wants to be a change maker like community mobilizer, too. She wants to influence families the way her family was influenced.
“I learned a lot of things from the training,” she said. “I learned practical skills and knowledge about child marriage, reproductive health, gender-based violence, nutrition, and so many things which I was not aware of in the past.”
ADRA works in Nepal to destigmatize health education and to make it free, equitable, and easy to access. With the support from UNFPA Nepal, ADRA works also to empower community mobilizers to bridge the gap between health education and rural communities; to contribute to improved maternal health through increased opportunities for family planning services; and to make available a Social and Financial Skills Package locally named Rupantaran, which translates to Transformation.