«All the things that we learn in this leadership program is truly helping in our lives. It has also strengthened our network of women.
– Sita Ghimire, team leader in a project for safe migration in HELVETAS Swiss intercooperation
– I was born in a poor family with six sisters and two brothers in a village far away. We did not have enough food and were dying to eat rice, which we did not have. My father migrated to another village because he was looking for better opportunities for his family. Sita Ghimire and her sisters had to work to get food. Education for girls was not common.
– My three older sisters did not go to school. They worked in the house and married in a very young age, around 11-12 years old. Sita saw girls going to school while she was working hard helping the family. Why couldn´t she?
– I told my parents that I wanted to go to school. No, it is time for marriage. You can´t go to school at your age, they replied.
Sita’s brother supported her. He had completed his bachelor’s degree and told them it was good prestige for the family if she went to school. Her father gave her an ultimatum. «If you fail, you must get married, if you do well you can continue.» Sita begged her father to allow her younger sister to go to school with her, and together they joined school in grade three.
– My father bought one set of books for both of us. We were so proud of carrying books. One of us used to carry the books in the morning and the other carried the books home. The second year I was the best student in our class and my sister was the second best. When Sita had completed her bachelor’s degree she met her husband.
– It was an arranged marriage. After two meetings we agreed, and after two months we got married. I was 24 years old and had the respect of my parents and of society as well. I was a well-educated girl, earning her own money. I could say no if it didn’t feel right, but my older sisters could not. Marriage was a gamble for all of them, with an immense societal pressure making divorce unthinkable.
In 1988 Sita joined Save the Children as a receptionist. She later completed her master’s degree in sociology. She had 16 different positions in Save the Children over 25 years, working with HIV-related issues. Sita Ghimire, team leader in a project for safe migrationin HELVETAS Swiss intercooperation ficking issues, and child protective issues before she became a director. She now works in HELVETAS Swiss intercooperation, which is a Swiss NGO. Here, she works as a team leader in a project for safe migration.
«It has taught me patience, positive thinking,believing in my own intuition, believing in myself and recognizing my own potential.»
The meeting between Sita and Anne-Katrine was the beginning of a strong personal and professional relationship. At the time, Sita worked for Save the Children, against the tradition of sex trading.
– We heard that a private donor wanted to support this work, so I wrote a proposal and Anne-Katrine agreed to support this project in three districts. We traveled quite a lot together visiting the communities she was supporting. During this project we started