Empowering Tomorrow:

The Story of Nepal’s Adolescent Changemakers

Imagine a place where the youth, once sidelined by societal norms and economic barriers, stand at the forefront of change. This isn’t just a hopeful vision but a tangible reality in the Palhinandan Rural Municipality of West Nawalparasi, Nepal, thanks to the transformative efforts of the SAMVAD program. Here, dialogue—”SAMVAD” in Nepali—serves not only as a communication tool but as a powerful weapon against inequality and injustice.

Empowering the Marginalized: Goals and Objectives

The SAMVAD program is not just another educational initiative. It’s a lifeline for adolescents aged 11 to 19 from Dalit and other marginalized communities, who are at significant risk of falling through the cracks of the societal structure. The program’s ambitious goals are set for 2024:

  1. Empowerment in Decision-Making: Aiming to empower 1100 adolescents to actively participate in the decision-making processes of their households and communities.
  2. Strengthening Community Networks: Building and strengthening networks among 1650 individuals from marginalized communities to campaign against social injustices and malpractices.

SAMVAD reaches out to adolescents who are at various crossroads of life—married or unmarried, literate or illiterate, school attendees or dropouts. These young individuals often come from backgrounds plagued with discrimination and are at high risk of exploitation and trafficking.

In the heart of Nepal’s West Nawalparasi district, a beacon of hope shines for adolescents through the “Education and Empowerment of Adolescents in Nepal (SAMVAD) Program.” This initiative, led by ABC Nepal and supported by the Stromme Foundation, is pioneering efforts to empower young individuals from marginalized communities, fostering an environment where they can thrive free from social injustices and trafficking. Dive into the transformative impacts of SAMVAD and its pivotal role in shaping a brighter future for Nepal’s youth.

Mid-Year Achievements: January-June 2023

The first half of 2023 was bustling with activity and success in the SAMVAD centers:

  • 1. Tackling the Dowry System: In a robust response to the deeply ingrained dowry system, SAMVAD adolescents organized street dramas in wards 5 and 6 of Palhinandan Rural Municipality. These events engaged over 125 participants and reached hundreds in the local community, playing a crucial role in sparking dialogue and challenging long-held customs.
  • 2. Combating Drug Addiction: With drug abuse posing a significant threat to the youth, SAMVAD’s approach included rallies and speech competitions aimed at educating and empowering adolescents. These events reached approximately 1600 people, with 369 adolescents actively participating, showcasing the program’s extensive reach and impact.
  • 3. Promoting Physical and Mental Well-being: The organization of sports events like volleyball competitions and slow cycle races went beyond mere physical activity. These events promoted teamwork, resilience, and community bonding among participants, proving vital in building confidence and social skills.
  • 4. Educational Re-engagement: Perhaps one of the most impactful initiatives has been the school enrollment campaign. SAMVAD worked closely with local schools and educators to reintegrate dropouts back into the educational system, with a remarkable 60% of identified dropouts re-enrolling in school, thus taking a significant step towards breaking the cycle of poverty and marginalization.
  • 5. Enhancing Social Harmony: Events like dancing chair competitions were not just fun and engaging but also instrumental in nurturing self-esteem and interpersonal relationships among diverse groups of adolescents, helping to bridge cultural and social divides.

Through various interactive events, SAMVAD has fostered a sense of belonging and mutual respect among participants. Activities such as dancing chair competitions and school enrollment campaigns have been instrumental in boosting self-esteem and re-engaging school dropouts.

The SAMVAD program is more than just an educational initiative; it’s a movement towards social equality and justice. By focusing on dialogue and community-based learning, SAMVAD empowers Nepal’s youth to stand up against social malpractices and embrace their socio-economic rights. With every discussion, every campaign, and every rally, these adolescents are not just participants but champions of change.