Local Rotarians, partners and family recently travelled to India and Nepal and while there visited several projects supported by some of their fund-raising activities.
The group included members of Kiama, Corrimal and Wollongong Rotary clubs along with Rotarians from the several Sydney clubs.
The visit to Nepal was an opportunity to visit a remarkable project started by an inspiring young woman, Stephanie Woollard, who noticed a woman with a disability walking down a street in Kathmandu then disappearing into a tin shed.
Stephanie had followed this woman and on reaching the shed found seven disabled women, unwanted by their families because of their disabilities.
The women were struggling to make a living and suffering harsh discrimination because of their disabilities.
In 2006, with her last $200, Stephanie, who was just 22 at the time, paid for trainers to teach the women how to produce products for sale locally and abroad, and the Seven Women project was born.
In 12 years, the project has had a tremendous impact, empowering and employing marginalised women in Nepal.
More than 5000 Nepali women have been educated, trained and employed by Seven Women, enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty.
The project has expanded to provide literacy classes and scholarships for Nepalese children, social and economic development programs in rural Nepal, and a social enterprise travel company.
For visitors to the centre, a very popular cooking class is offered.
Seven Women and Stephanie have received several awards. In this year’s Australia Day Awards, Stephanie was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal.
Our group was given a guided tour of the Seven Women Centre in Kathmandu, met the staff, and saw the many activities and projects that were happening there.
Afterwards we were taken to the large kitchen where all the ingredients were ready for our group of 20 to prepare, cook, and afterwards enjoy eating, some traditional Nepalese dishes.
They were Tarkari (vegetable curry), Goibheda ko Achar (tomato pickle), Alu Dum (fried potatoes), Kiri (rice pudding) and Chiya (Masala tea).
More information about the Seven Women project is at www.sevenwomen.org.
For further information about Rotary projects, both local and international, contact Dot Hennessy on 0412 120 314 or email email@example.com.
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