Meet 10 women working in Kathmandu

Welcome to Kathmandu!

The first ever WOW Kathmandu took place in 2017. 

Presented by The British Council in partnership with The WOW Foundation, the festival has demonstrated its power to change the world; at its inaugural festival, there was an increase of 27% of participants who could see women and girls as role models after having attended the event. 

Finance and Economy: Ambica Shrestha (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Ambica Shrestha

Entrepreneur and the chairperson of Dwarika Heritage Hotel in Kathmandu. At 87 years, she is a leading figure in the business sector in Nepal and inspiration to upcoming women entrepreneurs. She also works to preserve the cultural heritage of Nepal.

"Nepal needs young women to come with the economy for the country. Without the development and building up the spirit of entrepreneurship among women overall economic development will not happen." 

Cultural Life, Arts and Expression: Sarita Thulung (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Sarita Thulung

International swimmer, wheelchair dancer, and entrepreneur. She played wheelchair basketball for the Jawalakhel Wheelchair Sports Club in Nepal. Chairwoman of the Culture Society of People With Disability, she also runs her handicraft centre called Bikalpa Sangathan.

"Sports and art both seem to be entertainment but for human beings it is not only entertainment but a necessity to lead a healthy life. My aim is to make people aware that people living with disabilities also have needs and wants in relation to culture, art and sports."

Identity: Pallavi Payal (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Pallavi Payal

Political researcher and a feminist Mithila artist exploring ideas to re-invent Mithila art in current times to try to explain the impact of the citizenship amendment bill on Madhesi women, the culture of silencing women and other patriarchal and misogynistic mind-set.

"Art gives me the freedom to express what I see, experience and understand about life, about a sense of belonging, about identity and my own beliefs. 

I am trying to reimagine our traditions and culture, breaking the limitations created by social norms for better inclusion and reimagine our traditions and culture, breaking the limitations created by social norms for better inclusion and representation of women.” 

Health: Bonita Sharma (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Bonita Sharma

Founder of SOCHAI, currently using Nutribeads and similar concepts to promote women's health and infant nutrition across rural Nepal. Winner of the Lead 2030 Challenge for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ‘Zero Hunger’ initiated by One Young World.

"As a Public Health activist, a Youth and a responsible citizen of this country, I feel it is very unfair that women, children and girls are dying everyday due to preventable health problems. Youth like us are capable of solving this issue through collective effort."

Leadership, Power and Politics: Laxmi Ghalan (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Laxmi Ghalan

Lesbian activist and founder of Mitini Nepal, organization working to improve sexual health, protect human rights, lobbying and wellbeing of sexual and gender minorities like lesbians, gay, bisexuals, transgender in Nepal.

“I fight for our identity, I fight for our dignity and for livelihood; when will this fight end, when will we find the sweet release of equality? Gender equality is a promise to myself which I hope to fulfill in this lifetime”

Conflict: Gita Rasaili (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Gita Rasaili

Gita grew up during an armed conflict and authoritarian rule. She lost a sister to torture, rape, and murder, and became a justice leader, champion for victims and the powerless, driven by an aspiration that future generations should not carry such burdens.

“My past, which I share so many others, never passes. The only way to the future is through the past.”

Domestic Life: Hajuri Bista (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Hajuri Bista

Hajuri Bista’s journey from housewife to entrepreneur and the idea to produce hygienic, natural Nepali-style pickles clicked after attending a food processing training from Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (WEAN). Today, she is Vice-Chairperson of the WEAN Co-operative.

"I have always believed that there is no such thing as menial work! Every work whether it is in the kitchen or elsewhere, respect to your own work is a must for dignity lies in how you perceive your work." 

Climate Change: Pasang Dolma Sherpa (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Pasang Dolma Sherpa

Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Executive Director of Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research & Development (CIPRED) works with Indigenous Peoples, Women and Local Communities for the promotion and recognition of the traditional knowledge, cultural values and customary institutions.

“Living our lives with moral values and responsibilities is the only way to creating the desired equitable and healthy society that ensures our collective rights, mutual respect and dignity for us to live in harmony with nature, in the absence of which we become like a robot."

Peace and Justice: Mohna Ansari (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Mohna Ansari

Mohna Ansari served at the National Women Commission (NWC) of Nepal between 2010 and 2014 and at the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal from 2014 to 2020. She is a well-known lawyer and rights activist and Nepal's only female attorney from the Muslim community.  

"It is unfortunate that a large number of women in rural to urban areas still face sex and gender based violence in various forms. Most of these cases either go unreported or the perpetrators held not accountable. I am committed to end all forms of violence against women." 

Education: Pushpa Basnet (2020) by Buna DhuganaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Pushpa Basnet

Social worker and the founder/president of Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) and Butterfly Home, non-profit organizations. Her organization works to strengthen the rights of children living behind bars with their incarcerated parents. 

"Education, food, medical care and happy childhoods outside prison walls are a basic human right of all the children - no matter what their parents do. I’m determined to give life through education because I firmly believe in 'Everyone deserve a second chance'."

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