Nepal: Saying “no more” to silent suffering

By: 
CARE
Amina Khatun from Nepal was left by her husband, who initially refused to pay her anything towards to upkeep of her son

Sadly like many other counties around the world, in Nepal many women are brought up to believe that they are destined to suffer and nothing can be done about it. This is especially the case for those who are poor, vulnerable and excluded from mainstream society.

However in some communities people are becoming aware that it does not have to be this way. Women are claiming the chance to feel that they were not born to suffer. And CARE is supporting this process.

25 year old Amina Khatun lives in Gonaha VDC of Rupandehi district in Nepal. With support from CARE, she dared to speak out against the situation her husband left her in, and seek a new peaceful life for herself and her son.

Around the first week of May this year Amina’s husband eloped with another woman.

“After knowing that my husband got married to someone else, I was shattered,” explains Amina. But despite feeling devastated she tried to adjust, for the sake of her family, and the expectations of those around her. However, when she found that her efforts were not appreciated by her family or her husband, she started questioning herself. She felt humiliated.

“Love alone is not enough if it not reciprocated. I tried to compromise without thinking about myself but I could not continue any longer.” She realised she was incredibly unhappy being considered a burden.

A new life

Realising that her husband and his family would not support her, Amina decided that she had to seek a divorce and start a new life. It was not an easy decision for a Muslim woman in her community. The divorce left her penniless. She could not even send her son to school. But she new what she had to do and accepted the challenge.

Peace Ambassadors

Members of a peace group, facilitated by CARE, were aware of the tensions in the Amina’s family. They discussed the issue to see if they could do anything to help.

“We first took her to mediation,” Yadav, a member of the group, said. After few days of the mediation, some of the group went to see Amina and her husband to see if they were able to reconcile. “However both expressed their desire for separation.”

The peace group helped the couple discuss how Amina and her son would be supported financially by her former husband. He was reticent, but eventually persuaded to assist with his son’s upkeep. Members also explained the importance of registering their son’s birth, something which had not happened previously, and Amina’s husband agreed to ensure that this happened. The divorce was agreed, and the legal process of separation began.

For now Amina and her son have moved in with her mother for some support, but are happy.  “Now, I have learnt to live a happy life amid the sufferings,” she says. She wants to make sure her son a gets good education. This is possible thanks to an agreement of shared financial responsibility for her son. Amina directly attributes this to the CARE-supported group which helped her through this difficult time.

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