ASIA · Nepal
From the forest to the University, from the University to the rural communities: an atypical history of a Nepalese activist
Growing up in a rural village surrounded by dense forests, Prativa Subedi (58) has devoted her life to raise the living standards of those in need. Creating the Women Awareness Centre Nepal (WACN) in 1990, Prativa works to empower rural women and gives women a sense of dignity for their lives.
Though many girls did not have the option to attend school, Prativa’s forward thinking father encouraged her to obtain an education, and she eventually got a Master’s degree in Economics. As her desire to help the poor intensified, Prativa challenged the traditional role as a woman in Nepal. She began to write, and published four books on the harsh reality for women in Nepal. The truth was exposed in order to raise awareness on gender and development issues.
Prativa’s creation of WACN provided the opportunity to create the change for women she always hoped for. Economic opportunities were created for thousands of women due to training and support in sustainable agricultural practices. Such ambition has led to the establishment of 41 women’s cooperatives, ranging from 200 to 1,200 women shareholders. As a result, 25,000 women have become members of informal savings and credit groups.
Prativa’s work has enabled rural women to become economically independent in a male-dominated society. Women have developed more confidence in their ability to become equal partners in development, enhancing the lives of the women and giving hope to young girls and all future women of the community. She continues to drive innovative mechanisms to help develop the socio-economic status for rural women, overcoming all odds that were put against her.