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Trust, but be always on your guard: Rupa Sharma
Since 2002, Rupa Sharma has been active in the Nepal’s journalism and women welfare sector and her efforts have been recognized by various government and non-government organizations. As editor and presenter of ‘Aajako Charcha’— a program aired on Nepal Television she was able to bring to the fore social and cultural restraints hampering women’s right.
Apart from that as founder of Media Mobilization for Sustainable Development and Gender Expert at Asian Women Bridge, Nepal she played crucial role in exposing women trafficking network to Korea. Despite receiving multiple threats she persisted in her endeavours and was able to expose women trafficking network. Sharma recently talked to Republica, on issues surrounding women rights and welfare in Nepal. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of women welfare in the country?
At the surface level, it seems to have improved dramatically compared to what it was one or two decade back. But, I find these changes are mostly superficial. Women are still struggling at the domestic, social and formal front. Patriarchal ethos continues to dominate their will, desire and talent.
You have been actively campaigning against women trafficking. What has been your experience?
Though the state and various non-state actors have been putting up defences and checks to curb women trafficking in Nepal, I feel traffickers have been finding one or another way to traffic Nepali women. This is mostly due to the lack of support from women’s own family, the lack of education and sometimes due to dream of a prosperous life. The government should do more to educate women about the possible traps through media mobilization.
What has been your experience in running campaign against women trafficking?
When I reflect back and think of things that could have happened to me or to my child – I shiver. But when I think that my efforts have saved many Nepali girls from being trafficked to Korea under the pretext of marriage, I feel a sense of achievement. Something that I always wanted to do and will keep doing. No matter what comes.
What is your advice to women?
I have had a rough childhood and an adult life. At time I have come across ways to get rich quick and some of them felt like straight out of Disney land movies. As a single struggling mother, they were too much tempting to let go. But I held my grounds. I think it’s important to always live in the real world and not to give into temptations. Most of the temptations lead people to misery. So, I would suggest that women should be always on their guard and focused on achieving theirs. Trust, but never let off your guard.