We work in three primary areas:
- Safe Shelter and Support for GBV survivors
- Improved Livelihoods
- Non-Formal Education and Awareness of Rights
Safe Shelter and Support for GBV Survivors:
Since 2007, Apeiron has run a residential rehabilitation and training program in Kathmandu for women coping with gender-based violence (GBV). Most women who arrive at CASA Nepal come to Kathmandu from far districts, escaping physical or sexual violence, financial restrictions, and psychological abuse in their own households; on average, we host 60 women per year at the shelter. Women are referred to us from past program beneficiaries, Women Development Officers, and the police. Continuously receiving these referrals shows us that government officials and women themselves trust Apeiron to provide transformative support and empowerment.
CASANepal takes a survivor-centered perspective, prioritizing the rights, needs, and wishes of GBV survivors. We ensure that women receive essential services including safe shelter, nutritious food, health care, psychological and social support, child care, and legal aid. All women at CASANepal can participate in vocational and on-site Non-Formal Education (NFE) courses to develop their literacy, numeracy, negotiation, problem-solving, and teamwork skills, as well as learn about their legal rights. This holistic approach — a group setting paired with individualized attention and case management — allows women to recover from trauma, flourish as individuals, and form bonds with other women who have had similar GBV experiences, leading to feelings of personal and social empowerment. Apeiron keeps in touch with CASANepal women long after they return to their home communities to ensure that they continue to feel supported, even from afar.
Nepali women’s lack of economic independence is a notable risk factor for GBV, especially inflicted by women’s intimate partners. Particularly in rural Nepal, traditional gender roles have lead to women’s restricted access to resources and economic opportunities. To reduce Nepali women’s economic dependency on others, Apeiron helps women and girls develop vocational skills for long-term economic self-sufficiency. In five districts, we lead “learning by doing” income-generating activity (IGA) trainings, such as tailoring, knitting, beautician services, domestic services, vegetable and livestock farming, and other livelihoods as identified by women themselves. We also implement micro-enterprise (small business) development programs to improve existing livelihoods, such as streamlining women’s potato farming processes in Jumla, and work to improve basic standards of living amongst particularly marginalized communities, such as the stone-breakers of Dhading district.
From our experiences in rural communities as well as in our safe house, we learned that group interventions, such as technical trainings, are socially and economically beneficial. We see participants building relationships with each other while learning life-changing income-generating skills. Further, we know that enhancing the economic status of women actually decreases the prevalence of GBV in their households by giving them negotiating power for the first time in their lives. Apeiron continues to support women’s pursuit of their own livelihoods as both an economic necessity and a means of personal empowerment.
Non-Formal Education and Awareness of Rights:
One of the most important factors in reducing and preventing violence is knowledge. Apeiron includes education and awareness of rights in all of our interventions, such as advising women on their citizenship rights and referring them to social service providers. In 2016, we developed a unique Non-Formal Education (NFE) curriculum to serve as a standalone program in Kathmandu Valley and to incorporate into our field-based programs. This curriculum expands on the life skills and literacy training we offer at CASA Nepal. Our NFE modules cover an array of culturally-appropriate topics and can be taught to women, men, girls and boys regardless of learners’ literacy or educational background. Our curriculum was inspired by the REFLECT approach to adult learning and social change — which fuses the theories of pioneering educator Paulo Freire with participatory methodologies — and strengthens Apeiron’s livelihoods programs by allowing women and men to expand their learning beyond just income-generating activities.
Apeiron also deploys teams of trained, local female social mobilizers to rural communities to spread awareness about gender inequality and GBV. Social mobilizers use community-specific Information Education Communication (IEC) materials, and advise us on the problems communities are facing. Lastly, Apeiron supports underprivileged children in their pursuit of formal and non-formal education.