A light in the darkness for widows in Nepal
Those days were a struggle for her and after attempting suicide for three times, she started meeting other widows, and understanding their conditions in Nepal’s society. Being privileged compared to most of them, because of being born in a middle/high-class supportive family in Katmandu, she decided to travel Nepal from village to village, to inspire women in getting together and fight back the stigma and discrimination they suffer, through new cultural practices.
‘Life teach us many things. The situation I found myself taught me a lot. I have often be protected by my family, but my trauma and my sorrow made me much stronger’ she says. It was in 1994 when Lily founded WHR which brings together over 100.000 Nepalese women, in 2.000 groups, scattered over the 73 district of the national territories. 'It was very hard, especially because in 1995 the civil war started, which ravaged the country for a decade. It’s not in the city that we must work, but in the remotest villages, where the traditional culture is stronger and women end up discriminated the most. I don’t do much, I mainly give them moral support. I want to let these women know that someone is behind them and they can count on us. We want to transform their shame into pride, which is basically revolutionary. We want to give women respect and dignity. We are changing people mindset, customs, cultural practices. We even managed to bring together Maoist’s widows with the wives of their enemies, can you imagine? But it is so hard to change a way of thinking so much connected with religion.’ Lily was able to push for the change of a Nepalese law that did not allow women below 35 years old to inherit properties. Now they are allowed. Lily worked on the creation of 6 different laws to improve widow’s lives in Nepal. ‘We have a long road ahead’ she says ‘but we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for change’.