The rapidly growing Didi Head Quarters was established in 2013 with the purchase of four sewing machines. The centre now attracts up to 100 women daily and regardless of religion or caste, our focus is on disadvantaged women or women suffering hardship. Our lifeskill courses are designed to empower women and assist them in developing sustainable and self-funding lifestyles. Women are selected based on a need or hardship. If a vacancy exists then women who have financial support can attend the courses and pay a small fee. All courses run for six days a week, except for government and religious holidays.
- Sewing School
- Computer Course
- Numeracy and Literacy
- Manufacture of Reusable Sanitary Kits
- Maternal and Child Health workshops
Didi Nepal has at times partners with the Nepalese Government and ran specific courses that had not previously been available in this community. These courses have included:
- Traditional Weaving
- Beauticians Course
- Women’s Empowerment Program
- Manufacture of Traditional Cushions and Dolls
Our vision is to empower women so that they can create sustainable livelihoods or seek further education courses or employment.
The Didi Foundation Nepal-Australia’s policy is that no project is commenced unless it can be sustained with a tutor for two years or offer on-going support.
From small beginnings we now have 10 machines and the sewing course runs for six months. We have employed a highly accomplished tailor who instructs the girls on all aspects of sewing.
This includes pattern making, basic use of the treadle machine and maintenance and skills using an over-locker. At the end of the course women sit an exam of accomplishment and are capable of making a traditional outfit called a kurta. A kurta is a brightly coloured long shirt with pants underneath.
On completion of the course women can register with a government tailoring course, work in a tailoring shop or start a small home business.
90% success rate for graduating students.
Funding from Northlakes Toukley Rotary Club and The Pink Umberella Grant we were able to establish this computer lab in October, 2014. In 2015, Northlakes Toukley donated, through a Rotary District 9685 Grant a solar power system so that women could attend classes regardless of power outages. In October, 2015 we installed wi-fi so that women can use modern technologies such as Facebook and the internet.
Underprivileged women and women from the lowest caste are encouraged to register for this class. Students learn to establish a filing system, use Word, spread sheets and the internet. They develop skills in saving photos from a camera or internet and putting them into a document.
From this course women can enrol in a beginner’s government course, do basic office work in a business and talk technology with others and their children.
Literacy and Numeracy classes
Due to past socio-economic and cultural systems our women had never had the opportunity to learn to read and write and many had not attended school,
Regardless of age or caste, women are greeted with open arms and given the opportunity to learn Nepali and basic English. You just cannot imagine going through life, not being able to sign your name, not knowing what a sign said or where the bus was going.
This course is for women of any age who, due to socio-economic barriers, have never learnt to read or write and have a desire to learn.
Our measures of success are:
“I can now read the names on the buses’
“I can now teach my grandchildren the alphabet”
“Now that I can add numbers I have started selling vegetables on the side of the road”
Read our beautiful women’s stories of success on our Facebook page.
Secret Women's Business - Re-Usable Sanitary Kits
This welfare program was established in October, 2013 through a Pink Umbrella Grant and then funded by the Re-Build Nepal campaign. This program offers employment to sewing graduates to experience the manufacturing world, develop sales skills and book keeping.
These sanitary kits consist of:
- A bag to hold the kit
- Sanitary shield
- 5 specially made towels
- Plastic clip lock bag
- Using instructions
In conjunction with handing out these kits, the recipients are given an education and hygiene lessons on the reproductive system. These kits are given to underprivileged school girls, orphans and women living in difficult circumstances.
In Nepal there is a shroud of superstition that still surrounds menstruation. ‘Goths’ (outdoor hut or dog house) were outlawed in Nepal 1995 but still exist in remote regions. These huts are where a menstruating woman is sent so that she does not spoil the house or land. In these huts they are often prone to vermin, snakes and rape. Evan educated women are still not encouraged into the kitchen when menstruating. Through the distribution of these kits and the education program communities are slowly developing an understanding of natural body functions.
Didi Foundation loves to plant the seeds for dreams to grow. We do this by creating opportunities for women to have experiences not previously accessible. Through education these women become empowered which can lead to sustainability and an independent secure future.
In some cases we have partnered with Nepali government agencies and have implemented:
- Women’s Empowerment Course
- Beauticians course
- Traditional Weaving course
- Employment application skills
- Six month computer certificate course
- Soft toy and cushion making
- Self-funding photocopy/print shop in a village in Sindhuli for Year 12 graduates from a deaf school.
- Established a group of women in a very remote village with sewing machines to manufacture local dress
- Developed a business manufacturing carry bags operated out of Didi Headquarters
Didi Foundation has also supports disadvantaged women to establish home industries
We are seeking future funding to implement successful social enterprise and micro-loans for women to be empowered in their own communities.
Maternal and Child Health
This program is spear headed by Laxmi, our women’s health adviser, implements the maternal and child health clinics for underprivileged women and children together with communities suffering hardship. Our health centre also offers:
- Outreach education programs that focus on reproductive health education for local women and workshops for professionals
- Health clinics to those who have undergone the education program where free examinations and testing is undertaken
- Prolapse education and clinical assistance
- Teenage sex education programs
- Dental programs for school children