HomeNet South Asia held their first congress

The HomeNet South Asia’s first Congress of home based workers was a very happening event and was a moment of glory for the participating members. 

20, Oct 2022 | nepaltraveller.com

HomeNet South Asia are united and their alliances are strong enough to empower the women who have home based works

HomeNet South Asia had their first ever congress in The Soaltee Kathmandu on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. They had the Inaugural Session of Home Based workers from 9am to 11am in the Megha Malhar Hall of The Soaltee Kathmandu. The event was powered by Sida, Ford Foundation and UN Women.

There were participants from 28 countries including South Africa, Maldives, Pakistan, Brazil, etc. The main guest of the event was Chandni Joshi who is an enforcer of HomeNet South Asia. Ani Choying Drolma; a Nepali singer and a nun, Renana Jhabvala; Chairperson of HomeNet South Asia, Ms. Felicity Vox; Ambassador of Australia to Nepal, Ms. Saloni Singh; Member of planning commission, Dr. Bimala Rai Poudel; Member of Parliament, Nepal, and Phuntshok Chhodden; Trustee of HomeNet South Asia were the speakers of the event.

Ani Choying Drolma started the event by chanting a soothing musical prayer with her music team and gave a warm welcome speech including the strength in solidarity and reminding the agenda of HomeNet South Asia that is women empowerment, responsiveness, democratic and representativeness.

After the tranquil music and enlightening speech, the Women team of Khokana played the traditional Newari Flute in a very melodious sound. They took a round of Megha Malhar Hall and lightened the environment. Guests were really impressed by the traditional music.

Chandni Joshi welcomed everyone in the program and presented the video; ‘We are One’, showing that all the members of HomeNet South Asia are united and their alliances are strong enough to empower the women who have home based works. She said, “HomeNet South Asia mapped the germs, organised them, built their capacities, handheld them through digital innovations, supported them during disasters, trained them to combat violence, and shared research findings to understand the situation better.”

Then the Chairperson Renana Jhabvala took over the stage and gave a briefing about the sisterhood between the HomeNet South Asia and clarified their major agenda of the HomeNet South Asia that is “We are a Movement, We are a sisterhood, We are the future!”

After Renana’s insighting words, the participants of member countries were called on the front and they rang a big bell one by one to show their presence. This was a highlight of the program because ringing of bells was never done before in any of the programs to show anyone’s presence. This portion of the program was called Inauguration.

After the inauguration, two participants shared their experiences about being a home worker and the violence they had faced. They also revealed that they were empowered because of the HomeNet South Asia and other participants’ support.

Navya D’Souza; Regional Coordinator of HNSA, also showcased her portions about HomeNet South Asia where she talked about how HNSA has helped women in different issues like low payment of their work, dignity, revived businesses that were down due to natural disasters, abuse of women, harassment etc.

Few guests weren’t able to attend the congress so they kept their words in front of the audience via video messages. Two of the participants of UN Women, Susane Fenguson; Country representative of UN Women India CO and Navanita Sinha; UN Women Nepal talked about the formation of HNSA and its progress till the date where 1.2 million of people are the members of HNSA in today’s date.

A work of art, a handmade large Tapestry made up of different patterned Dhaka was presented by Sristi Joshi Malla; HNSA Advisory Board Member. The tapestry was unveiled by Ms. Felicity Vox, Dr. Bimala Rai Poudel, and Ms. Saloni Singh.

After that, a video message by HE Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon; Secretary General of SAARC was played where he applauded and acknowledged the HNSA’s invaluable contribution for women empowerment and wished the members to go forward continuing the great work.

A 10-minute long video was shown where the women were doing home based works like Aari work, accessories making, bangle making, bag making, bed-sheet making, beedi making, cane product making, stitching etc.

Remarks of the HNSA were given from Ms. Felicity Vox, Ms. Saloni Singh and Dr. Bimala Rai Poudel.

Phuntshok Chhodden officially ended the session with a heart-warming vote of thanks and asked the participants to go see the stalls that were installed by members of different countries showcasing their handmade products from their home based business.

The HomeNet South Asia’s first Congress of home based workers was a very happening event and was a moment of glory for the participating members. 

Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma

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