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vsn-women empowerment project in nepal

Women’s Center Opening

The construction of our new women’s center is complete! We held the opening this Friday to celebrate this special day and the beginning of a grand project to improve the education and empowerment of the women in our community.

The construction of the building was possible thanks to a donation from our volunteer Dave Bruce in loving memory of his late mother Rosemary Vida Bruce. A plate was engraved and mounted to pay tribute to her. His mother devoted her life to spreading compassion and loving kindness and the center will honor her life and memory by supporting the lives and dreams of it’s women members.

The ceremony began with the lighting of a butter lamp after which Dave and the portrait of his mother were presented with a khata in the Buddhist ceremonial tradition.

Dave gave a very moving speech describing the generous spirit of his mother, whose generosity lives on in the creation of this center. VSN founder Tej Shrestha, in his speech, expressed his gratitude and optimism at having established a long-term space for the women’s center, as the land has been secured for at least the next 10 years.

As is the tradition in Nepali celebrations, delicious laadu pastries were shared among everyone in joyful spirits. In the hopes of planting the very first seeds of a future community garden, flowers and a lemon tree were planted in the soil surrounding the building.

Many other volunteers and staff have also conducted fundraisers to support the growth of the center. In February, VSN female staff ran the Kathmandu Pinkathon and lauched a crowd-fundraiser raising almost 1000 USD to buy equipment for new skills training programs. Marijke Prevoo, our volunteer from the Netherlands, created a Nepali recipe book with the women and has already sold several copies online raising enough to equip the new center with a kitchenette. VSN volunteer Caitlin Ward, from the UK, is currently raising funds to buy two computers so the computer classes can run more effectively.

The future is bright for our new center and we look forward to it becoming a space of empowerment and community engagement for all of Pepsicola!

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