Nepali Times Asian Paints
Review
A lucky Sherpa



As one of the few Sherpa members of the Constituent Assembly, Lucky will now be involved in drafting a new constitution on behalf of her people? a branch of Sherpas that lives in the Arun Valley of Sankhuwasabha.

Lucky's father was the first Sherpa professor and when he came to teach at Tribhuban University, her family moved to Kathmandu where she was educated. Lucky graduated with a masters in economics.

It's a long way for Lucky from Madi Mulkharka, where the rest of the clan still lives to being the UML representative in the assembly.

"Most of my extended family didn't get the opportunities I had and I am determined to work for their upliftment so that no Nepali is left behind," Lucky told Nepali Times on a trek through her home district recently.

Neglect by rulers in faraway Kathmandu, and the apathy of the district administration in Khandbari to the concerns of the mountain people means that the people of northern regions of Sankhuwasabha are even more remote than Humla or Mugu.

There are layers upon layers of neglect: people are marginalised because they live in far-flung areas, their voice is feeble because they come from indigenous communities, they are not educated and don't have the reach, they are poor so no one listens to them, or they come last because they are women.

Says Lucky: "At the national level, the indigenous movement is getting a voice, but here you won't find many people like me who can speak out." That is why Lucky set up the Himalayan Indigenous Women Network (HIWN) to promote and protect the rights of indigenous mountain communities, focussing on women.

She explains how information is power and because indigenous women don't speak Nepali they are left out of decision-making in government offices. There are things that can start within the communities: girls must be given the same opportunities as boys and women need to be educated about their rights.

"Already," adds Lucky, "participation and the sense of politics among women are emerging. We are becoming aware that we should be involved in politics at local and central levels, otherwise our issues will not be heard."

The road to becoming a woman indigenous leader is a bumpy one. Nepal's political arena and the indigenous movement are dominated by men. But Lucky chooses to focus on the common denominator: indigenous groups feel the same social, political and economic exclusion, which can be amended by the revised constitution.

Lucky is determined that it won't just be luck that will give women from indigenous communities the same opportunity she had for education.

Sraddha Basnyat

Himalayan Indigenous Women Network www.hiwn.org.np



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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