Bunu Rai, 20, from Nepal, is training in Automobile Mechanics. There are very few female workers in the automobile industry in Nepal. But this is about to change.
“I want to change the perception of the society and the people. Women can do this work, even though it has been perceived to be only for men,” Bunu Rai says.
Finn Church Aid’s local partner organisation UCEP Nepal’s Sano Thimi Technical School in Bhaktapur near the capital Kathmandu has started to offer non-traditional vocational education for young women.
Rai has been learning a lot at the school and enjoyed her studies very much.
“When I’ve been studying and working with men, one thing I have learned is courage. I do not feel any awkwardness, I’m very happy. We students help each other.”
”Our society is patriarchal. I want change! I want women to be treated equally and have an equal place in the society.”
Rai says that in the past there was discrimination between daughters and sons in Nepali families. Often boys went to school and girls stayed home doing housework.
However, Rai’s parents always treated her and her sister and brother equally.
“My father used to work as a school helper. Perhaps he learned his good thinking partly from the school.”
At the Sano Thimi Technical School there are students from around the country, many living at the school hostel. Underprivileged youths such as youths from dalit or ex-bonder labour groups and youths from low economic background can get a scholarship for their studies.
After graduating, Bunu Rai wants to find a job or open her own workshop. In Sano Thimi, the training is followed by support to job placement or self-employment.
Text: Ulla Kärki
Photos: Veera Pitkänen