Apeiron was founded in 1996 in Florence, Italy, by a group of friends who dreamed of an equal world: a place where women and men could benefit from the same opportunities, enjoy the same rights and live a life free of violence. These friends wished to make a difference, one life at a time, to infinity. They founded an organization and named it Apeiron, a Greek word meaning “unlimited”, “boundless” or “infinite”.
After running empowerment projects in various countries that helped participants to remove the boundaries from their lives, Apeiron’s team settled in Nepal, where Violence Against Women (VAW) remained a major barrier to the development of individual women and girls, their communities, and Nepali society as a whole.
In 2004, the team formally established Apeiron as an international NGO with a country office in Kathmandu. Since then, Apeiron has been dedicated to needs-based projects across Nepal that empower women and reduce gender-based violence (GBV), understanding that this approach results in long-term impacts such as increased self-awareness, vocational skills, and equality in households.
In 2007, we founded CASANepal, a safe house in Kathmandu for women and their children escaping GBV. Women began arriving from far-flung districts of Nepal to receive personalized psychosocial support, empowerment, and skills training in a residential group setting. Apeiron has run CASANepal since then, expanding our support to up to more than 100 women and children at a time.
Building on the skills training we initially developed for women in CASANepal, Apeiron staff introduced income-generating activities (IGA) into field-based projects in 2009. We piloted a micro-enterprise program in Syangjya district (western Nepal), in which small business development paired with collective empowerment training improved the lives – and livelihoods – of participants.
Apeiron’s programs gradually expanded to Dhading and Jumla, two under-developed rural districts in central and western Nepal. By early 2013, Apeiron split in two new “souls”: in Nepal it had legally changed from an Italian INGO to a Nepali NGO (APEIRON Nepal – Mahila Sashaktikarandwara Gramin Nepal ko Garabi Niwaran), in Italy Apeiron remains a volunteer-based Organization, with a fundraising activity towards projects that contribute creating a gender equal society in Nepal and, starting from 2019, we have also decided to work alongside women residing in Italy.
In April 2015, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Apeiron responded immediately by establishing female friendly spaces (FFSs) in displacement camps and distributing health kits to women. Through our mobile FFS that rotated among camps, we responded to displaced women’s and girls’ needs such as psycho-social counseling, transportation to a family planning clinic, and activities specifically for adolescent girls, who had been overlooked in the earthquake response.
Years after starting our journey, we continue to build on our experience — learning from both successes and failures — to develop participatory programs that will empower women and their communities and therefore will contribute to a world where gender equality is achieved both in Nepal and in Italy.