On June 7, 2022, DidiBahini's Sanga Development Learning Center (DLRC) and Women’s Forum members came together to welcome the newly elected officials of Banepa Municipality. As a pillar of support, the Sanga Women's Forum and DLRC have provided critical mutual aid to the community in close collaboration with local government for over 10 years. Gathering in the community yoga building, jointly constructed thanks to a local government grant, the group welcomed members including the new Municipality Chairperson Shanti Ratna Shakya, Deputy Chairperson Bimala Sapkota Dahal, and other representatives.
Following a welcome puja ceremony and distribution of gifts made by the children and staff of the DLRC, speeches were delivered by political officials, Women’s Forum leaders, and DidiBahini staff. Mr. Shanti Ratna Shakya delivered remarks on the important work of the Sanga Women’s Forum and the need to free up women’s time spent on unpaid care work to enable them to turn towards productive livelihood activities. Ms. Bimala Sapkota Dahal echoed this message with a complementary speech reflecting on significant challenges for women and girls posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined necessary steps to accelerate progress on gender equality agendas.
The Sanga DLRC boasts a symbiotic relationship with the local community and government, and credits open collaboration for producing almost two decades of fruitful programs for the community, particularly women and girls. Thanks to a local grant from the Tulsi Meher UNESCO Club, the Women’s Forum is able to operate DLRC programs rent free on their current land, in exchange for the upkeep of the premises. The ceremony highlighted the importance of the Women’s Forum in the local community and the collective power of women advocating for political support for their issues and programs.
The event concluded with attendees sharing a homemade Newari meal of samay baji, reflecting the cultural traditions and hospitality of the community.