Teaching Self-Defense in Keragari, Nepal

Teaching Self-Defense in Keragari, Nepal

Words by Mahila co-founder Julie Morrill

I was very excited for the opportunity to teach self-defense in Nepal. I’ve taught all over the US and in Haiti, which was a fun experience, as I got to teach in French! (And, whoa, that was outside my comfort zone! But considering self-defense techniques are usually outside the comfort zones of the women I teach, that seemed fair!)

As we were making the 1½-hour drive to the rural village of Keragari, Arun (Eco-Organic Nepal’s Marketing and Media coordinator) turned to me and said, “So, what is your plan with this group? Rural women may not be very open to the idea of physical self-defense training.” Uh-oh.

Updates from Nepal: 10 Orphans Urgently Need Assistance

This Mother's Day

Mahila Partnership is responding to urgent orphan care needs in Nepal

We’ve learned of 10 orphans in the communities we serve in Nepal who are desperately in need of assistance. They previously received stipends of rice from the two families housing them, but they are no longer receiving those contributions. Their homes have been damaged by the earthquake so the foster families’ funds are split between feeding the young children and ensuring they have a safe place to live.

Two families have taken in these children – two house mothers who divide rice and their meager earnings between their own children and these orphans, who lost their families to natural or self-inflicted causes during the earthquake. 

It's a sad, uncomfortable to-talk-about reality that in the event that families lose everything: loved ones, property, business, livelihood, hope - that it may become hard to go on living. Some of these children were orphaned due to parent suicides, a burden which no child should have to bear.

These children can be fed, housed, clothed, and to be enrolled in school this year with our help. A generous anonymous contributor has agreed to match donations up to $1,000 – meaning your dollar goes twice as far.

Visit our Crowdrise Campaign via the Donate button to make a contribution and share with your friends and family. 

Wildflowers100 List - A Blossoming Experience

We could have never guessed what would come of participating in the Wildflowers100 new years project. As an organization, we have goals, but goals are more formal and are expected. These intentions set at the beginning of the year were special, and in turn, created special results. Check out the list below to see how this field of wildflowers has blossomed.

 

Our #Wildflowers100 List:

~ Host 100 runners for #RunNowWineLater in February

We hosted 35 runners + our team throughout the United States. We hosted the run the same weekend as our Board Retreat and met up with a few Mahila supporters for a jaunt around Gravely Point. 

What we didn't account for was that all the buzz around the run in our Facebook group, email newsletter, and on Instagram, that two other fundraisers would pop-up - one just a few days before and the other in the same weekend, which we were able to attend as a team in Virginia.

In total, we raised MORE than $2,000 in this time period.

 

~ Invest that $2,000 into our cooperative in Nepal, where our women will hand craft reusable sanitary pads for hundreds in their villages

So much progress has been made in Nepal, it's staggering. Through our investment, we have begun to implement feminine health and hygiene programs in schools, in rural communities, and begin the production of reusable sanitary pads. 

Vice President & Co-founder Julie Morrill teaching self-defense to a women's group in Nepal, March 2017

Photos from our trip to Nepal (just this past month) are being posted daily to our Instagram. Follow us there to learn more!

 

~ Reunite the Mahila team in Washington, DC in February to plan the next few years of growth

This list summarizes our accomplishments as a team, which we reviewed together in Washington, DC in February. Being a virtual team has its advantages, though there's no denying that having everyone in the same room breeds a heightened energy that keeps us motivated all year. 

 

~ Publish our 2016 Annual Report featuring successes and lessons learned

You can download a copy right here.

 

~ Raise our Instagram followers to 500

For the first 7 - 8 years of Mahila Partnership, we were a tight-knit group without any intense marketing or social media presence. This year, in order to connect with new sponsors as our programs grow, we decided to experiment with Instagram to see what we could create.

The more people we've been able to reach through our social media, the more engagement we've seen across the board in our work. We are continuing to share stories and refine our voice along the way.

 

~ Connect with at least 3 grassroots organizations traveling a similar path to share stories and create relationships

We connected with Priyam Global, an organization based in India empowering mothers with children born with disabilities. We also greatly deepened our partnership with Eco Organic Nepal, the organization on the ground serving our communities in Panchkal and Chamrengbesi, Nepal. Through our visit, we saw that new needs have emerged and have found and the opportunity to increase our service in these communities. 

Co-founders Angela Devlen and Julie Morrill ceremoniously distributing dresses in Panchkal, Nepal in March 2017. 

 

~ Introduce our audience to our amazing team and add 1-2 more team members

We are so proud to share that a volunteer team member has returned to fine-tune and lead the Mahila Partnership grant-writing internship program. Our volunteer Noel and her intern Deja have been hard at work crafting grant applications on Mahila's behalf, with the intent to help us expand our sponsorship in the communities we serve. 

 

~ Produce a Mahila Partnership video that epitomizes what we're passionate about

This is an intention that we did not complete. Our time investment in campaigns, communication, and engaging our community kept pushing this opportunity to the bottom of our to-do list until the first 100 days had passed and we realized that instead, we produced numerous campaigns, tee shirts, events, and results that we are beyond passionate about! 

What is exciting, however, is that we DID capture a lot of video in Nepal, which means that a Nepal video is certainly in the future... 

 

Because of you, we were able to accomplish these milestones and SO MUCH MORE for our women and their communities. 

Did you have a Wildflowers100 or New Year Goals List? We'd love to know how you're doing and acknowledge what you're accomplishing for yourself and YOUR communities. 

Here's the quote that inspired it all: 

Updates from Haiti: April 2017

Updates from Haiti: April 2017

Latest Happenings at the Artisanat

The eco-sanitary program continues to evolve and expand to more communities, serving more women in every way we can.

Mahila Partnership is an active partner of Haiti Projects, contributing directly to their sewing cooperative, the Artisanat. From there, we support the employment of Haitian women who handcraft sanitary pads, sell them in their community, and benefit from feminine health + hygiene seminars.

Check out the latest happenings in Fond des Blancs, Haiti for April 2017!

Updates from Nepal: March 2017

Updates from Nepal: March 2017

When we were in Chamrangbesi 5 years ago, this home was smaller, had dirt floors and they cooked over open fire. It was like time had stopped in this village a couple hundred years ago. Nonetheless, Gagan Bahadur (in the photo below with our partner, Sabita) and his family opened their home to us, giving us food to eat and a place to sleep.

Celebrating International Women's Day

Celebrating International Women's Day

The theme for this year's International Woman's Day, a global celebration and day of awareness for females everywhere, is Be Bold for Change. 

Everywhere, we're seeing the status of women and girls in society changing. Women are empowered to start successful, growing businesses; more and more girls have access to education; daughters are inheriting and managing family agricultural lands; the stigmas that women face around menstruation, balancing work and motherhood, and gender inequality are becoming international causes with global reach. 
 

Updates from Haiti: February 2017

Updates from Haiti: February 2017

The Women of the Artisanat

Women are working hard to create reusable sanitary pads for their community in Fond des Blancs, Haiti

Mahila Partnership is an active partner of Haiti Projects, contributing directly to their sewing cooperative, the Artisanat. From there, we support the employment of Haitian women who handcraft sanitary pads, sell them in their community, and benefit from feminine health + hygiene seminars.

Check out the latest happenings in Fond des Blancs, Haiti for February 2017!

Updates from Nepal: January 2017

Updates from Nepal: January 2017

Celebrating 10 Years of Partnership

Looking back, looking forward, and celebrating all we've learned

Nearly 11 years ago, before Mahila Partnership was created, co-founders Angela and Julie forged a partnership with Eco-Organic Nepal founder Sabita Aryal in her quest to reduce landslides and destruction in the rural regions surrounding Kathmandu, Nepal. 

The Organic Valley was created to fortify the land that was vulnerable each year to the monsoon season with the added benefit of improvement in the food availability to the villages nearby. Nearly ten years, multiple monsoon seasons, and one major earthquake later, the harvests still come and the communities are stronger than ever. 

Planting a Field of Wildflowers - First 100 Days of 2017

Planting a Field of Wildflowers - First 100 Days of 2017

This year, Board Treasurer Mari Partyka shared her yearly first 100 days project with the world in the form of a blog post and list - Wildflowers: a 100 Day Project. We loved the idea so much (as did some of our board members, who created their own!) that we decided to make our own.

Setting personal goals and setting goals for an entire organization are pretty different, and the latter can be quite tricky. We wanted to set the bar high, but not so unreasonable that we felt overwhelmed. We considered what we had going on, what we could provide for our women in the first hundred days of this year, and what would be the best improvements within our organization to achieve those goals. 

We're excited to share our list with you!