Have a Flipping Party for Foundation Nepal!
Tuesday 8th March is Pancake Tuesday, and it's also International Women's Day, so we thought that, as a lot of our work is focused on women in Nepal, it would be appropriate to highlight their lives, and to do a fundraiser on the day.
Where we work, women face particular hardship. There are no employment opportunities in the district, and most households only produce enough food for 2-3 months of the year, so men have to leave the district for most of the year to get low paid work such as breaking rocks and building roads in Tibet during the summer, and picking fruit in India during the winter. This leaves their wives as head of the household for most of the year, and because there is no electricity or mechanisation of anything in most of the district, women have a huge physical workload. The average woman works 14-16 hours per day carrying water and firewood for cooking, carrying water to their tiny fields, harvesting crops by hand, carrying crops down to their homes on their back, threshing by hand, as well as taking care of large families. Culturally, it is believed that if a woman uses contraception, this reduces their energy and ability to do all of this hard manual work, so as a result, many women give birth to 10+ children. But 65% of children suffer from malnutrition, and low birth weight babies are very common, with high levels of infant mortality, as women work throughout their pregnancies, and go back to work again shortly after the baby is born, which puts pressure on breast milk supplies. Many women suffer from malnutrition, given the massive physical workload that they have. Other illnesses such as prolapse are very common, again related to the excessive workloads of women. Women have few rights, such as land ownership, and domestic violence is common. During menstruation, women are 'dirty; and must sleep in the cowshed and cannot touch any man. Childbirth is also 'dirty' and is frequently done in the cowshed with no medical supervision in very unsanitary conditions. Widows face particular hardships and are stigmatised by society, where taboo holds that they are responsible for the deaths of their husbands and carry bad luck.
Our programmes target women - our health programme focuses on women's health including prolapse, maternity care, delivery of babies and family planning. On education, we run women's literacy programmes and agri-business training. All of our food production, micro business and micro finance is focused on women, and some women have doubled their household incomes in less than two years as a result of our programmes. We run a lot of health and hygiene training, and we also support the construction and fit-out of safe birthing centres. This year, funding permitting, we will be doing a pilot drinking water and irrigation scheme in Thehe, which will greatly reduce women's workloads, and we will start campaigns against domestic violence. We also want to install an oil pressing machine which again will increase mechanisation and free up time for economically productive activities by the women.
So we want everyone to 'Have a Flipping Party for Foundation Nepal' and invite their friends and family over for a pancake party, and we will have prizes for the best pancake flipping photo submitted to our website, www.pancakeflip.org! The Latin Quarter in Galway is coming on board, and we hope to have some well known celebrities to launch the event and the website next week! Connacht Gold has also offered us milk sponsorship, and we hope to get some more sponsorship tied down by next Monday. So you can register on the website from next week for your free pancake pack, and have some fun while raising funds for a great cause!
Hope everyone has a fantastic week, and instead of flipping out about flipping this and flipping that, forget about all the negativity and have a flipping massive pancake party instead!
Lots of love