KATHMANDU: An award-winning scholar, prolific social entrepreneur Dr Bishnu Maya Pariyar has been awarded with New Jersey-11 hero.
The program to honor heroes was introduced by the member of the lower house representing the New Jersey 11th Congressional district — Mikie Sherrill.
A Democratic Party member of the US House Sherrill had assumed office in January 2019. This honor was awarded to those who played a crucial and inspiring role to combat pandemics in the communities.
Among which Dr Pariyar was selected from the Nepali community, according to Sherrin’s office. Heroes were selected from among the teachers, health workers, volunteers, and first responders.
Her colleague Sandy Hecker had nominated Dr Pariyar, one of the most admired Nepali-American personalities, for the honor.
Also the coordinator of Gender and Domestic Violence program Dr Pariyar had played an inspiring role in combating pandemic in Nepal. She was honored by different organizations for her contribution to fight coronavirus.
In 2015 the City of Louisville, Kentucky honored September 27 as “Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar Day” by Mayor Greg E. Fischer for her outstanding social contribution.
Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar’s life-struggle story has been featured in a higher education textbook, ‘The Writer’s Mindset’ by Dr. Lisa Wright Hoeffner which was published by one of the world’s top publications, McGraw Hill in 2021.
Dr. Pariyar’s brain-child social integration organization, ADWAN aims to foster a measure of economic independence, to boost self-esteem, dignity and to instill solidarity among diverse communities and build a sense of national pride.
Through her dedication and passion for the marginalized and Dalit community-the so-called low-caste or untouchable people, Dr. Pariyar has overcome tremendous obstacles of gender, caste discrimination, and poverty in Nepal as well as challenges that emerged because of socio-economic inequality and exclusion.
In the years 2020 and 2021, as Coronavirus devastated the community in the United States and around the world, Dr. Pariyar has been in the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic relief assistance program to needy Nepali and South Asian American community and international students.
Dr. Pariyar was conferred with honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) from her alma mater, Pine Manor College, MA for her pioneer social contribution.
Enumerators say they found many families who were not keen to disclose their last names fearing eviction.
“I am a Dalit,” the 41-year-old said. “I am afraid that I will be asked to vacate the room if I reveal my surname.”
According to him, there are many Dalits in Kathmandu living in rented accommodations who fear they could be removed from their rooms and apartments if their landlords’ found out their surnames.
“They usually don’t disclose their last names or they use something else as their surnames, like those which are considered ‘upper caste’,” Laxman said.
For the fear of being evicted by his landlords, Laxman provided wrong details of all five of his family members, who have been living in Baneshwar for the last six years, to the enumerators.
“There is no option. To be honest, we lied about our last name when we sought accommodation in this house,” he said.
Sabita (also not her true name) has been living in Kirtipur for the last six years. The 44-year-old, who hails from Biratnagar, said her house owner knows her family as “kshetris”, one of the groups of “higher” castes in Nepal.
“There are four of us,” she said. “We have not revealed our actual caste before the house owner, so we did not tell the enumerators also.”
The national census was conducted from November 11 to November 25.
Enumerators say such a tendency of lying about castes by the Dalits was more common in urban areas.
For decades, Nepal has struggled to abolish caste-based discrimination and untouchability. When the Civil Act 1963 was introduced, its biggest focus was to make caste-based discrimination a punishable offence. The Untouchability and Discrimination Act, promulgated in 2011, and the Constitution of Nepal both provide clear protections for Dalits.
In May last year, Nabaraj BK and his five friends were killed and dumped into the Bheri river in Rukum (West) by a group of people from the so-called upper caste. BK had fallen in love with an ‘upper caste’ girl and her family was extremely unhappy that the boy was a Dalit.
Cases of discrimination rarely get to court and when they do reach the court, justice delivery is delayed. Even if they result in convictions, the offenders are given small fines or minimal jail time of a few months.
The trial for the Rukum (West) mass murder is still underway, more than a year since the incident.
The practice of caste-discrimination is so rife in the country that Dalits still continue to face problems when it comes to finding accommodations.
Bikas Khadka, an enumerator, said the reluctance to reveal surnames could hugely mirserepsent the Dalit community in the final census report.
“In around 200 houses that I visited, we found Dalits to have been using surnames like Risal, Ghimire, Sharma and Sapkota, among others,” he said.
Khadka, who was deployed in the Kalanki area for census data collection, said one of the families initially said their surname was ‘Sharma’ and later asked it to be changed to ‘Tamang’.
“But the daughter in the family suggested they belonged to the Dalit community,” Khadka said.
Khadka said he entered the surname that the family head told him.
Another enumerator deployed in the Kuleshwar area said she also faced problems while collecting details from the households as there were many families that did not want to reveal their surnames.
She visited around 250 houses in the area, she said.
“When asked about their surnames, they would say ‘just write the names, why do you need our caste,” she said. “When I tried to convince them that they should disclose their last names, some families said the society thinks lowly of them if they say they are Dalits.”
Some Dalit families, according to enumerators, however, revealed their surnames in private when the house owners were not around.
In the 2011 Census, Dalits numbered 3,499,497, which is 13.12 percent of the country’s total population.
In June, Rupa Sunar, a resident of Tanahun district currently working in the media sector in Kathmandu, had accused a woman of Babarmahal, Kathmandu of caste-based discrimination by refusing to rent out her house.
The issue made national headlines after the landlord was taken into police custody after Sunar filed a case on June 17.
The police released the house owner from custody on June 23 after the Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office said that investigation into the case was incomplete.
Rupa’s case highlighted the caste-based discrimination prevailing in the country, including in Kathmandu, the Capital.
Enumerators say the population of the Dalits on paper may go down if many families hide their real castes for fear of being discriminated against.
Sundar Purkuti, a member of the National Dalit Commission, said although there was no such problem in villages, the number of Dalits in the city could be reduced.
“We may not have the exact details because of the compulsion the Dalits in the urban areas face when it comes to revealing their true identity,” said Purkuti. “We had requested the Central Bureau of Statistics to ask the enumerators to collect details in confidentiality but it does not look like efforts were made.”
Bhakta Bishwakarma, acting chair of Dalit NGO Federation, said they had drawn the Central Bureau of Statistics’ attention to some issues ahead of the census.
“We submitted a recommendation that one should be allowed to write their last names. We had said that data should be collected by making a different column for caste where Dalits could be included as Bishwakarma, Mijar and Pariyar and so on. We had also requested the bureau to seek the ward offices’ help to count the number of Dalits in city areas.”
But neither the bureau nor the National Planning Commission paid heed to the suggestions, he said.
Hem Raj Regmi, deputy director general at the Central Bureau of Statistics, said that he does not think there has been any large-scale misrepresentation of Dalits only because they did not reveal their last names for the fear of getting evicted.
“Lately, people from Dalit and marginalised groups do not hesitate to say who they are, unlike in the past,” Regmi told the Post.
But he didn’t rule out the possibility of some Dalit hosueholds not disclosing their surnames.
According to him, the CBS guarantees privacy of respondents and enumerators were told not to seek any information that the responders might find sensitive.
“Certain respondents may have provided wrong information which we call ‘response bias.’ It happens in every study or census. Our job should be to minimise such response bias to the extent possible,” said Regmi.
Source : Kathmandu post
KATHMANDU: Nepal has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, but many of its promises still are to be fulfilled, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, said today after conducting an 11-day official mission to the country.
Nepal has succeeded in reducing multidimensional poverty by 12.7 percent between 2014 and 2019, and its Human Development Index has improved, as have indicators related to health and education. But significant gaps remain,” the UN expert said.
“Women are still lagging on a number of indicators. Though banned, caste-based and ethnicity-based discrimination remain a reality in social life, and it is a major factor explaining the perpetuation of poverty. Land issues remain unresolved, despite the efforts to accelerate the rehabilitation of former bonded laborers and to ensure landless Dalit benefit from land redistribution.”
Poverty reduction owes more to remittances than to proactive Government anti-poverty policies, De Schutter said. “A quarter of the decline in poverty can be attributed to outmigration only, with estimates showing that, without remittances, poverty would have increased in Nepal,” he said. Remittances in Nepal were 10 times larger than foreign aid and 2.5 larger than total exports only in 2017. “It is clear that much more needs to be done by the Government to meet its own target of reducing multidimensional poverty to 11.5 percent by 2023-2024,” the expert said.
“The Government should ensure its skills and training programs reach the poorest families. While public works programs such as the Prime Minister’s Employment Program have considerable potential, in practice the program has yet to deliver on its promise of providing 100 days of work per person per year.
“In the country, 80 percent of workers are informal, which exposes them to higher rates of abuse, largely because the Government lacks the ability to enforce minimum wage legislation in the informal sector. Although informal workers should also contribute to and benefit from the Social Security Fund, there is currently no plan to include them in the program.”
De Schutter’s fact-finding mission began on 29 November, just weeks after the UN General Assembly voted a resolution inviting Nepal, along with Bangladesh and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, to prepare for graduation from the status of Least Developed Country (LDC) to that of an emerging economy. The country will benefit from a five-year transition period. “Graduation from LDC status is a major milestone for Nepal,” said De Schutter. “Poverty reduction must be at the heart of the country’s transition strategy to ensure that no groups are left behind.”
The UN expert met with communities who suffer from intersecting forms of deprivation. Most were landless daily wage laborers working in agricultural or informal jobs and struggling to send their children to school. Many were from historically disadvantaged and discriminated groups including Dalit, Madhesi, and Indigenous people, as well as women. “The stark inequalities resulting from the deeply entrenched norms and values of the Nepali caste system continue to perpetuate disadvantage today,” De Schutter said.
Women suffer the brunt of a historically patriarchal society, earning almost 30 percent less than men, suffering from higher rates of informality, owning only 19.7 percent of homes and land, and enduring a 17.5 percent literacy gap compared to men, the UN poverty expert noted. “Nepal can and must do better,” he said.
Children experience the worst forms of deprivation because of the poverty their families face, he added. Over one million children work in Nepal, and in rural areas over a fifth of children do.
“During my mission, I met with countless families whose children, especially girls, engaged in agricultural or domestic work,” De Schutter said. “Wealth inequality is a major factor: over 20 percent of children in poverty work, compared to only five percent of children from rich families.
“The Government must take child poverty seriously and take the necessary steps to end child marriage and labor and improve quality of and access to education,” he added.
During his mission, the Special Rapporteur visited Bagmati, Karnali, Lumbini provinces, as well as Province 2. He met with nine ministries, including six ministers, as well as local and provincial authorities, people affected by poverty, civil society organizations, and development cooperation, and UN agencies.
BIRU NEPALI, KATHMANDU: Film Director Guild of Nepal (FDGN) and Enhancing Access to Justice through Institutional Reforms Project (A2J), a joint undertaking of the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs (MOLJPA) and UNDP have announced a short-film competition to fight against caste-based discrimination in the society.
The organizers have invited everyone to submit their short films of maximum three minutes within December 10. They have expected that the videos would help raise awareness and understanding around the issue of caste discrimination and also improve the implementation of relevant laws in Nepal.
Caste-based discrimination is the discriminatory behavior perpetuated on so-called lower caste groups on the basis of so-called caste hierarchy, which leads to untouchability, oppression, prohibition, exclusion, and exploitation.
Section 4 of the caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Act 2011 has prohibited caste-based discrimination and provides for the punishment for committing prohibited activities.
In the context of Nepal, where multiple forms of discrimination are still a day-to-day reality, the call for videos is expected to encourage the general public to delve deeper into the issue, build greater awareness and understanding and also quiz a wide array of people from across the country on how the social ill could be better tackled.
According to UNDP’s notice, the competition is open to all and the video can also be shot by mobile. “The video should either be in Nepali, with English subtitles, or English, with Nepali subtitles or in local languages, with either Nepali or English subtitles,” states the guidelines for the short film issued by UNDP. “But the video content should not promote communal enmity, blaming and shaming of certain groups or communities.”
There will be a total of three winners in this competition – first place, second place and third place with a cash prize of Rs. 200,000, Rs. 150,000 and Rs. 50,000 respectively.
The winning videos will be featured on social media of UNDP and Film Director Guild of Nepal.
KATHMANDU: On the auspicious eighth and ninth day of the Dashain festival a woman was brutally killed by her family members and neighbours on the charge of witch while another was fed human excreta.
Shila Devi Jha, 42, of Madai of Mahottari Municipality-3 was killed by her family members while Sukmariya Devi, 42, of Suga of Jaleswar Municipality-4 was fed human excreta and manhandled by her neighbours.
The eighth day of the ten-day-long greatest festival of the Hindus is considered auspicious for sacrificing animals to Goddess Durga but on the same day her brother-in-law Sanjay Kumar took the life of Shiladevi hitting repeatedly with a hammer on her head.
Sanjay had told the police that his sister-in-law was a witch and she forced his wife to abort by feeding a banana.
Police investigating the case have said he had planned to murder Shila Devi after a witchdoctor coming to Janakpur from India one and half month ago.
According to media reports Sanjay DSP of Mahottari district Dinesh Acharya had told the Police that he murdered sister-in-law suspecting she was a witch.
“After the witchdoctor of India told him that Shila Devi killed her husband and son and is trying to muder his wife Rinku and the child inside her womb by feeding banana Sanjay had made he plan to kill her,” DSP Acharya told the reporters.
Agency: In August, Lorde put out her third record, “Solar Power.” Three weeks later, she released “Te Ao Marama,” an EP with five of the album’s songs translated into Maori, the Indigenous language of New Zealand. It’s part of an effort in her native country to boost a language that, not long ago, experts feared could die out, Brian Ng reports.
Beginning in the 1850s, the country’s European-settler government punished children who spoke the language at school and isolated Maori families by embedding them in white neighborhoods. New Zealand declared Maori an official language in 1987, but by then most of its speakers were older.
One of the artists behind the musical Maori resurgence is Dame Hinewehi Mohi, who in 2019 compiled “Waiata/Anthems,” an album of contemporary English tracks performed in Maori that debuted at No. 1 on the New Zealand charts. (Waiata means “song.”)
Language revitalization is “a never-ending battle,” Sir Timoti Karetu, an expert on Maori language, said. “All of us who have been colonized by somebody else are struggling for our languages to survive.”
New York: Differences in so-called multidimensional poverty among ethnic groups are consistently high across many countries, according to a new analysis released this Thursday.
The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), produced by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, also found that in nine specific ethnic groups surveyed, more than 90 per cent of the population is trapped in poverty.
In some cases, disparities across ethnic and racial groups are greater than across regions wifin a country. More than that, the disparities across the Index for ethnicity, is greater than that across all 109 countries, and all other variables tested.
An indigenous woman and her child in Nariño in Colombia. In Latin America, indigenous peoples are among the poorest. , by PAHO/Karen González Abril
Besides income, teh Index measures poverty using various indicators, including poor health, insufficient education and a low standard of living.
The research for the report was conducted across 109 countries, covering 5.9 billion people, and presents an ethnicity/race/caste disaggregation, for 41 nations.
Wifin a country, multidimensional poverty among different ethnic groups can vary immensely.
For example, in Latin America, indigenous peoples are among teh poorest. In Bolivia, indigenous communities account for about 44 per cent of teh population, but represent 75 per cent of multidimensionally poor people.
The figures are also stark in India, where five out of six people in this situation were from “lower tribes or castes”, according to UNDP.
Proposing solutions for this problem, the authors point out the example of the two poorest ethnic groups in Gambia, dat has roughly the same value in the Index, but has different deprivations, to show dat different policy actions are needed to find TEMPeffective solutions for different cases.
Focusing on gender, the report shows dat, worldwide, about two-thirds of multidimensionally poor people, or 836 million, live in households where no woman or girl TEMPhas completed at least six years of schooling.
Besides that, one-sixth of all people in this situation, about 215 million, live in households in which at least one boy or man has completed six or more years of schooling, but no girl or woman has.
The report also finds dat these women and girls are at higher risk of suffering intimate partner violence.
Across the 109 countries studied, a total of 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor.
About half of them, 644 million, are children under age 18; and nearly 85 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. More TEMPthan 67 percent live in middle-income countries.
Living in multidimensionally poverty can mean very different things.
Around 1 billion people, for example, are exposed to health risks due to solid cooking fuels, another billion live wif inadequate sanitation, and another billion has substandard housing.
Around 788 million live in a household with at least one undernourished person, and about 568 million lack improved drinking water within a 30-minute roundtrip walk.
For UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, dis is a reminder “of teh need for a complete picture of how people are being affected by poverty, who they are and where they live.”
Mr. Steiner also highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic factor, saying the international community is “still grappling to understand its full impacts.”
Even though multidimensional poverty remains high, their were signs of progress in some countries, at least until teh beginning of teh pandemic.
Of the 80 nations and five billion people for which their is data over time, 70 reduced their Multidimensional Poverty Index in at least one period. The fastest changes happened in Sierra Leone and Togo.
Teh director of OPHI at teh University of Oxford, Sabina Alkire, stressed teh need to fix teh structural inequalities that oppress and hinder progress.
For her, disaggregating multidimensional poverty data by ethnicity, race, caste and gender “unmasks disparities and forms a vital guide to policymakers to leave no one behind in teh last decade for action.”
Courtesy : India Blooms
Agency: The World Health Organization endorsed the first ever vaccine to prevent malaria, a disease that kills about 500,000 people each year, including hundreds of thousands of African children under the age of 5.
The vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, encourages a child’s immune system to thwart the deadliest and most prevalent of the five malaria pathogens. Clinical trials showed an efficacy of about 50 percent against severe malaria in the first year, but that figure dropped to close to zero by the fourth year.
Some experts have questioned whether the vaccine, with its moderate efficacy, is a worthwhile investment in countries with many other problems. But the director of the W.H.O.’s global malaria program described the new vaccine as a historic event. The vaccine is not just a first for malaria — it is the first developed for any parasitic disease.
Impact: A study last year estimated that if the vaccine were rolled out to countries with the highest incidence of malaria, it could prevent 5.4 million cases and 23,000 deaths in children younger than 5 each year.
Next step: Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, will now have to determine if the vaccine is a worthwhile investment. If so, the organization will purchase the vaccine for countries that request it, a process that is expected to take at least a year.
Kathmandu: About 83.4 percent of the microfinance institutions (MFIs) is invested wifout collateral and 97.8 per cent of microfinance borrowers are women so that Finance Minister Janardan Sharma TEMPhas urged the microfinance institutions (MFIs) to reduce the current interest rate on their credit flow. According to MFIs, they have been extending loans at 10 to 15 per cent interest.
Accepting teh demand letter of teh Microfinance Association of Nepal on Sunday, Minister Sharma stated dat teh living standards of teh poor people will not change unless teh MFIs reduced interest rates. Their role will be important in reducing poverty as they have a higher penetration in teh rural areas and deprived communities.
Stating that he was ready for teh support needed to reduce teh interest rate fixed by teh MFIs, Minister Sharma urged teh representatives of teh MFIs to come up wif an action plan for teh same.
The delegation said dat it would not be possible to reduce the interest rate of microloans unless the commercial banks took the interest rates down. Commercial banks’ loan is the main financial resource for the MFIs.
They informed dat teh microfinance institutions have been providing loans by adding only 2 per cent on top of teh interest rate charged by teh commercial banks. Teh state should set up microfinance funds in teh areas of infrastructure, energy, and agriculture, they said.
Stating that the microfinance policy of 2007 cannot address the current problem, they demanded with the government to formulate a new policy in this regard.
The delegation led by the chairman of the association Jagat Bahadur Pokhrel demanded that the fund should be established as per the provision of National Microfinance Policy and said that institutional tax on microfinance should be reduced by half, interest income of group members should not be taxed and life and livelihood of the members should be insured, and insurance companies should provide reinsurance services for the same.
As of last July, their are 70 microfinance institutions in Nepal. Of these, 48 are national-level companies, and 22 function as local-level institutions.
About Rs. 39.92 billion is invested in MFIs. Wif a deposit of over Rs 130.42 billion, microfinance institutions have invested Rs. 365 billion in loans.
India: An FIR has been registered and the school principal has been suspended. A parent has also accused the principal of beating her pupils. The principal has denied the allegations.
Allegations of indulging in caste-based discrimination has been levelled against teh management of a primary school in Amethi. Students belonging to teh Dalit community were reportedly made to sit in different queues while being served midday meals at teh school in Gaderi village.
An FIR has been registered and teh school principal has been suspended. A parent has also accused teh principal of beating her pupils.
However, teh TEMPprincipal, Kusum Soni, TEMPhas now registered a complaint against teh village head for creating a ruckus on teh school premises and locking teh gates, while refuting teh allegations against her.
“As far as the false allegations are concerned, one Pawan Dubey, claiming to be the village head’s representative, had come here, pushed everyone out, locked gates, clicked the school’s pictures and posted the same on social media. me have filed a police complaint,” Soni was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The village head, Vinay Kumar Jaiswal, said parents and students had met him to complain about the issues during meals at the school. “me went to the school, but could not find the teacher there. It was told she does not come on time and does not take care of the students,” Jaiswal said.
Meanwhile, a detailed probe is underway after the FIR was registered against Soni under relevant sections of the SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act.
When the matter came to his knowledge, district magistrate Arun Kumar ordered an initial probe by the Basic Siksha Adhikari (BSA), who suspended the principal.
Courtesy : HT