Meet Chanda, a champion for disadvantaged girls from Nepal
“Pregnancy at a young age has huge costs on girls’ reproductive and psychological health. And they are subjected to gender-based violence,” says Chanda. We must empower girls to speak out for their own rights and well-being! “That’s why I will continue to work in education,” says Chanda.
Chanda, 23, had already dropped out of school when she engaged with the Joint Programme and received vocational training. She was inspired to pursue a career in education while working as a facilitator for the UNESCO Functional Literacy Class (FLC).
Chanda works with girls who had dropped out of school, girls who had never been to school, and girls who are married or had married young. “Child brides are denied further education, lack literacy, and are unable to manage their finances, making them completely dependent on others,” says Chanda. She believes that efforts to uplift girls and women must complement efforts to reduce early marriage.
Chanda has been able to follow the girls’ progress after the FLC. She has noticed incredible improvement in their confidence stemming from their participation and learning. However, the lockdowns throughout the pandemic resulted in many girls returning to farm work and parents taking advantage of lower dowries to marry their daughters. There is still much progress to be made to change the attitudes of parents and guardians towards their daughters.
Despite these challenges, Chanda is committed to working with adolescent girls to inspire them and gradually change social attitudes towards girls’ education.
About the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme
Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through the Provision of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and a Safe Learning Environment in Nepal is a Joint Programme led by UNESCO, UNFPA, and UN Women with support from KOICA aiming to empower girls and young women through an integrated approach to education, health, and gender equality.
- More on UNESCO’s work in education and gender equality
Photos: UNESCO/Laxmi Prasad Ngakhus