By Svend Løbner 18 Feb 2023 |

Jadeni became a leader and entrepreneur

Jadeni was oppressed because of gender, caste, and poor living conditions. 
Today, she leads one of Mission East's women's groups and runs a chicken farming business in north-western Nepal.

In Nepal, being a woman is not easy. Jadeni experiences this first-hand. Women are usually relegated to hard domestic work. And families can be so impoverished that they struggle to lift themselves out of poverty. And if you're from a different caste than the rest of your family, you're close to being ostracised.

That was life for Jadeni until she joined a women's self-help group just over two years ago. Here she learned how to read and write, how to run a business, and - most importantly - that she is worth as much as anyone else.

Husband backs her

After two years and three months in Mission East's women's group, Jadeni's self-esteem has been boosted. "One of the things I'm happiest about is that I've learned to read and write," she says.
The new skills have also increased the respect from her husband in the otherwise patriarchal society: "She has learned a lot of new things. That makes me really happy," says Chakra.

And now Jadeni has come to the conclusion that all forms of oppression should be banned:

"As a woman, you should not be treated badly. Caste and chhaupadi are bad things in society. Every woman should know her rights," she says.

Chhaupadi is a practice where girls and women are relegated to stables and outhouses during menstruation because they are believed to be impure. They are not even allowed to fetch water from the same well as others. Staying in unhygienic houses often leads to disease and bites from snakes and insects. Chhaupadi is banned in Nepal but is still practised in rural areas.

Informing other women

Today, 55-year-old Jadeni heads a women's group in the village of Unapani, up the Himalayan mountains in north-western Nepal. Jadeni cannot accept the way girls and women are treated in traditional communities. So she spends a lot of time telling other women about what she has learned in the group.

"There are women here in the village who are particularly vulnerable. They can't read or write. They are helpless. I want so much to include them and lift them up. I hope that others will have the same opportunities as me. I don't like the idea that some are left out," she says emphatically.

Mission Øst Nepal Hjælp til Selvhjælp

The energy to dream

Her self-esteem and awareness of rights have given her the courage to start a business breeding and selling chickens. She currently has 73 chickens and has already sold 70. She was able to do this because the women's group also acts as a savings-loan group. She borrowed 50,000 Nepalese rupees and has already earned 120,000 rupees, which she uses to pay the loan and buy food, clothes, and school supplies for her children.

And now she has the energy to dream about the future:
"I want to expand my business even more. In the future, I would like to become a kind of chicken broker. Travelling to neighbouring villages and buying chickens, then selling them for a higher price," she dreams.

Both Jadeni and Chakra are happy with the support Jadeni receives from Mission East.

Help for marginalised women

Since 2007, Mission East has been helping vulnerable people escape extreme poverty in the remote Karnali region of north-western Nepal. Local communities in Nepal's Karnali region are among the most isolated in the world and are only accessible on foot.

Mission East began work in Karnali with a focus on improving access to clean water and promoting hygiene to prevent disease. Since then, working with local partners, we have expanded our areas of work to include disaster prevention, food security, improving livelihoods, and empowering marginalised groups such as people with disabilities, the casteless, and women.

Read more about our work in Nepal