“I have been spreading awareness among the girls and community people focusing on early marriage, as this has been one of the most difficult challenges that I have faced.”
Paru* is 22 years old and lives in Nuwakot district of Nepal with her family. She has been involved with one of our local partners, Shakti Samuha, for a few years. Prior to CLAMP, Paru was a member of the adolescent group from her community. Here, Paru showed passion and active participation in leadership and community mobilisation trainings. Her previous involvement and enthusiasm meant that in 2018 she was selected as a Youth Change Agent (YCA) under the CLAMP project. YCAs are local, community-based project volunteers that work with communities to raise awareness on some of the issues and challenges communities face and support them in seeking better opportunities and futures.
Paru is a community-based volunteer with our CLAMP project working in her local community to identify children who have dropped out of school and work with them and their families to re-enrol them into education. Working with project staff and local schools, she raises awareness on the risks and dangers of human trafficking, especially for girls.
“I used to feel that I was a burden for my family. The idea of being forced to take on the responsibilities of my in-law’s house and to have children at a young age, when my body and mind would not be ready, scared me. I wanted to study, learn and become financially independent.”
For many years, Paru faced immense pressure to get married by her family. By talking with her parents and informing them of the risks of early marriage, Paru has saved herself from becoming trapped in an child marriage. With the help of her sister and aunt, she has been able to convince her parents that she needs prioritise being well and financially independent before getting married.
In one of the YCA meetings, Paru shared with the group her family's difficult financial situation and her own desire to become independent and self-sufficient. From this meeting, CLAMP staff visited her house and conducted a needs assessment. Paru was identified as at high risk of modern slavery and was offered a place in vocational training in tailoring.
“Shakti Samuha and presented me with a certificate when I had successfully completed the training. This has boosted my confidence so much! I have also developed my communication and leadership skills working as a volunteer. I feel good mobilising communities and spreading awareness on important issues.”
In coordination with Dupcheshwor Rural Municipality, a local group, the Shikharbesi Women Network, selected Paru for a further six-month training programme. This training was funded by Dupcheshwor Rural Municipality under its women empowerment initiatives. Paru then selected a girl from her village as a trainee helper. They both earned 10,000 Nepali Rupees (£75) per month as trainees. Having successfully completed the training, they are now both looking for work opportunities.
“I was shortlisted because of my dedication and commitment to this profession. I am determined to continue in the tailoring profession and help people that are in need by sharing my own life experiences.”