Chances are you are a friendly person who enjoys the company of friends and family in moderation. Inherently, humans tend to be social creatures who learn from one another to solve issues together. This social nature is a reason why I truly believe in women support groups as they can make a significant impact in the lives of their participants.

The organization that I volunteer at, Prerana, works towards empowering and gaining human rights justice for women and other socially marginalized persons. They establish groups such as Mahila Adhikar Manch (MAM), a loose network of rural women who, together, hold the power to influence political decision-making opportunities and strategies. With this ability, these women work together to advocate for policies that benefit not only them but also their society economically and socially.

The goal is a progressive and bold movement – a process that requires careful planning, proactive thinking, and sustainable solutions. The work done in Prerana’s offices hold positive outcomes influencing gender equality and women empowerment. Fortunately, I received the opportunity to attend a field visit with my coworkers, travel to Nawalparasi of District 2 in Nepal, and see the impacts for myself. The region has high poverty rates, which commonly occurs in rural settings. Therefore, it is a great place for Prerana to work and build a stronger community.

Throughout the days in Nawalparasi, with the help of a translator, I listened to the stories told by the women of MAM. One, who was mistreated by her abusive husband, relived the horror as she retold the story. Her daughter in the audience listened while watching her mother’s tears splash onto the podium as she spoke. This was a moment of courage for both the mother and daughter, as well as the entire MAM group, as they remember the reason to continue fighting for their rights. As the day neared an end, they all gathered in a meeting room to dance, sing, and play instruments to celebrate their efforts. Despite the hardships they face, the members still smile through it all and persevere, together.

It was during this experience when I further realized the importance of a support system. It is in these safe zones where women can discuss their rights, the available resources, and how they can make a world a better place for generations to come. The assistance of organizations, such as Prerana, and other support groups, help make these opportunities widely available to socially marginalized groups a reality. The co-operative efforts made act as a foundation for groups, such as MAM, to prosper to their fullest potential. Working in an office, it is simple to overlook the impact that the office work creates. It is events, such as these described, that act as a gentle reminder of how important everyone’s contribution is.

From a personal standpoint, I know if I were living any one of these women’s lives that I would be truly appreciative to know there are available resources and working organizations whose motive is to help me prosper. This has been an eye-opening experience that, all at once, has saddened me, made me more thankful, and has inspired to me to do great things for even greater people.

Here is a short film I created with footage from the weekend.