November 25th in 1988 is a date that remains fresh in our memories – this was the date when the idea for The Women’s Foundation Nepal was born. It was on this particular day, following a college volleyball competition, that we, a group of young women students, were approached by a middle-aged couple asking if anyone had seen their daughter. She had been missing for three months.
The couple were landless, so they came to Kathmandu searching for work with their three children. They started to work in a carpet factory. After a few days in the factory, a doctor asked their nine-year old daughter to be his servant; she would help care for his children and during the day he would send her to school. Eight days later, the doctor came back to the carpet factory, telling the parents that their daughter stole 110 grams of gold and had escaped from his home. Since then, the frantic parents had been trying to locate her.
After hearing their story, 14 of us gathered together to help them. We visited the doctor, but he refused to meet with us. We went to a political party’s office to ask for support, but they did not take us seriously. Next, we brought our concerns to the police. They were rude and dismissive. They saw us as disturbing troublemakers and asked us to go back to our studies.
Undeterred by the lack of assistance, we, a group of 14 individuals decided to take matters into our own hands. We reached out to colleges, sharing the heartbreaking story and calling for a meeting to rally support in finding the missing girl. This gathering brought together 45 women, not only to discuss the specific case but also to address broader issues related to family and women’s rights.
It was during this meeting that the decision was made to establish an NGO dedicated to tackling such cases and providing legal support. The Women’s Foundation Nepal was born out of the collective determination to address these challenges and protect the rights of women and children. The organization began its journey with nine dedicated members from diverse backgrounds, including students, doctors, lawyers, and social workers. Together, we started organizing social programs and initiatives.
In an effort to seek justice, the Foundation took the matter to the Supreme Court, threatening legal action against the doctor and the negligent police. Miraculously, the very next day, the police located the missing girl. She had been forced into unpaid child labor at the doctor’s sister’s home. The Women’s Foundation Nepal successfully reunited her with her family, marking a significant victory in their pursuit of justice.
Since that pivotal moment, the Women’s Foundation Nepal has experienced remarkable growth. Today, we proudly boast thousands of members, seven district offices across Nepal, two child care centers, three shelters for survivors of abuse and violence, an organic farm, an onsite textile production center, scholarship programs, skills training for women, and free onsite legal support and psychological counseling services.
President , The Women’s Foundation Nepal