An interview with Jash: Head of Mathilo Raniswara’s Women’s Committee

23rd November 2018

Mathilo Raniswara, one of the villages that current Expedition volunteers have been working in, began a women’s committee in 1995 in a bid to help their community. The current head of the committee, Jash Maya Rai Ale, spoke to us about the issues she has been tackling in her ward.

“I was elected as the head of the women’s group one year ago, after being a member for the previous two years. The committee in my village has 53 members, all of whom are women who live locally.

“Drinking and gambling used to be a problem in this village, so last year we started to raise awareness about the perils of these two habits. We ran a range of events, from dancing to lectures, to teach the community about how drinking and gambling can have a negative effect on our livelihood. Now, people only drink and gamble during festivals. The money we raise from our awareness-raising events is saved and used as low interest loans for anyone in the committee who needs one.

Jash pictured with Sally, the Expedition comms officer

“Our work is not just limited to women’s issues: we also organised rubbish bins to be placed into the community to help with plastic disposal, and once a month we clean the main road. Once a year, we organise the whole community to clean litter from the village to make sure we live in a clean environment. In the past, we have also used our money to build electricity poles in the village. This money also supplements the budget given by the local government for the road, to ensure there is enough money to keep the road navigable through monsoon season. In the future, we hope to build a replacement women’s community centre.”

Raj, Rosie, Kate, Beth and Olympia helping to make a hand washing station in Mathilo Raniswara.

A Raleigh Expedition group has been working on a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in Jash’s village. As part of this, volunteers have been working with her and her committee to raise awareness about menstruation. The group organised and delivered a session to the entire committee which looked at different attitudes to menstruation around the world and in Nepal. Sanitary towels are often too expensive or hard to find for women in rural communities, so Raleigh’s volunteers taught the women how to make a homemade sanitary towel. This is knowledge that they will be able to pass on to other communities and may even supplement their income. The volunteer group have also been involved in other types of WASH projects such as preparing the ground for a water storage tank to be installed, and have also worked with community members to make hand washing stations for their homes.

Raleigh Expedition are currently working on four WASH (water and sanitation hygiene) projects in Gorkha, Nepal. You can read more about this here:(https://raleighnepal.org/blog/blog_post/continuing-raleighs-work-in-gorkha/)  and check back over the next few months for updates on the progress of these vital projects.

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