“HITAISHI(the best friend) is a rural-urban intercultural exchange project which intends to develop skills and knowledge and empowers girls to develop their unique talents and abilities, through traveling in diverse community settings.
Empowerment through travel is a new concept as many consider travel as a leisure activity. But this program focus on changing the perception of participants to see the real value of travel and learn from diverse community settings and culture which provides them the feeling of empowerment.
Hitaishi: Rural 2019
Three pilot phases of Hitaishi has been successfully completed. Based on the learnings from our Pilot phases, we have reconsidered and restructured Hitaishi’s concept and program. Considering sustainability, we extended the timeline from a week to a year in order to emerge active leaders.
In the first phase of the Journey map, the six rural girls were selected from different phases of interviews and orientations from three districts: Parsa, Sarlahi, and Rasuwa. They participated in a week-long leadership Boot camp. The leadership boot camp was organized to develop personal development, critical thinking and negotiation skills, design thinking, and action plan with the support of different organizations. They visited different women-led organizations. Different workshops and activities were conducted based on how to travel safely and affordably. At the end of the boot camp, they pitched the different ideas to run a year-long project in their community which helps to strengthen leadership qualities within themselves.
- Amrita Kushwar and Dolma Dumjan: The participant from Sarlahi, pitched the ideas of Adult Literacy Education in two different communities. These two young girls are running two Adult Literacy education, 25 and 28 in each group in Majhi and Tamang communities. The room isn’t limited only to classrooms but it has become an open space where they can share their sorrows and happiness, eventually learning from each other.
- Shanti Yonjan and Dolma Dumjan: The participant from Sarlahi, pitched the ideas of Campaign against the Child Marriage in a whole-school approach mostly for grades 6, 7, 8, 9 &10 students. The program has already started and the sessions are running smoothly.
- Mendo Tamang: The participant from Rasuwa, pitched the ideas of Cleanliness Campaign in Gre village, Rasuwa district. Girls Empowered by Travel-Nepal (GET-Nepal) conducted the Homestay program in March 2019. Five Homestays are running currently and already served more than 100 international guests. Ms. Mendo Tamang has organized one campaign with the help of Mothers’ group and executive members of Gre Community Homestay.
- Jyoti Sah: The participant from Parsa, pitched the ideas of a Campaign against the Child Marriage. She has formed the Child Club in her Mahuwan village. She will organize the street drama, door to door campaign, etc. with the help of Municipalities.
Hitaishi: Urban 2018
In Hitaishi: Urban 2018, we had an open call and selected five urban girls from 100+ applicants. It was focused on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programs to conduct in underprivileged communities in six districts of southern Nepal.
The five urban girls from Kaski, Lamjung, Chitwan, Dharan, and Kathmandu districts were selected to visit rural areas in eight days. They conducted the SRHR programs in six different communities of Sarlahi, Makwanpur, Hetauda, Rauthat, Parsa, and Dhanusha districts. Pad Making Training was given to the young girls of rural communities of Makwanpur and Rautahat districts.
The visit has become one of the life turning points to the Hitaishi participants. Three participants of Hitaishi-III took the lead to conduct different SRHR programs in their own communities. They led the Hitaishi-Rural 2019 to bring six rural girls in city areas for the leadership Bootcamp.
Hitaishi: Rural 2018
Four rural girls from Sarlahi, Bhaktapur, and Dhanusha districts were selected to explore the urban areas to explore and learn about different cultures. Two girls from Dhanusha, one each from Sarlahi and Bhaktapur district were selected for Hitaishi-Rural 2018. Our participants were focused to believe that “Travel Can Make a Difference”.
The four rural girls learned about issues of domestic violence and its awareness, importance of cultural heritage sites from the visit to city areas. They visit different women lead organizations and the modern agricultural technological lab. The participants have started to travel on their own as they were afraid of the stigma and cultural barriers before. From our boot camp, they have developed the confidence level. One of the participants, Nisha Biswokarma ran the Adult Literacy classes in her community at Ishwarpur Municipality for six months. Another participant, Dashamaya Tamang has been running the homestay named Champak Namuna Home in Changunarayan since 2018.
In the very beginning, the four young urban girls were selected to explore and experience authentic cultures, traditions of different communities in the southern part of Nepal. The four urban girls got the opportunity to explore the rural parts of the southern part of Nepal. It was the first experience of these urban girls to see the Terai region from their own eyes who have never been to rural areas before. The participants were provided the opportunities to explore the marginalized communities. The meaningful travel entirely changed the perspectives of these urban participants towards the Terai region and the people there. Now, they are more respectful and responsible for community development. Two of the participants are now the board members who are leading different community projects along with coordinating the Hitaishi project in GET-Nepal itself.
Hence, we are up with the Journey Map for our Hitaishi Participants:
- Traveler:GET-Nepal will provide them travel opportunities to different community settings and give them skill-based training that helps to establish them as a community leader. The young girls will create the Girl Travel Circles in their own communities. Different programs will be conducted frequently to enhance their skills. They will organize meaningful meet-up programs, hikes, day-out, community exchange programs with their local friends and promote females in the travel stream.
- GET PromoterAmong those girls, few girls will be selected as a GET Promoter, The girls who actively organized the aforementioned programs and are enthusiastic to further work with GET programs will be selected as GET-Promoter. They will be further equipped with new soft skills, such as public speaking, presentation making, enrolling people/ getting them interested, working with people and institutions, and work in different programs closely with GET.
- GET Leaders:After a certain time of working as a GET-Promoter, they will be learning about GET-Nepal more closely. After they learn about GET closely they will be able to lead different programs, projects, or boards themselves.
- Travel entrepreneur: This phase is optional. The ultimate goal of GET-Nepal is to empower the girls economically. If these rural Hitaishi participants are interested in being a Travel entrepreneur. GET-Nepal will be providing the Entrepreneurial sessions. GET Nepal will train, provide the resources to be a Travel entrepreneur. The travel entrepreneurship may be Building the Community Homestay, Selling the Handmade products, Running the Hotel lodge/Restaurants/Tea Houses, Running the International Volunteering programs, Being a local guide, etc.