SETU Nepal – Bridging the Gap
SETU Nepal is non-profit organization, established in 2001 by group of young professionals of Nepal. SETU Nepal serves as a bridge for women re-entering society after their imprisonment or any other kind of deprivation or exclusion. Women in Nepal constitute half the total population, however among that vast number only few of them are economically and socially independent. The majority of them either depend upon their husband or their parents for their livelihood. Most women are illiterate and unskilled which makes them even more vulnerable.
After a decade of working with women in prisons and their offspring, we realized that those affected by HIV also faced high levels of discrimination. SETU has addressed this issue. We also realized that children were equally, if not more vulnerable, than these women as they are wholly dependent on their guardians. We found that the innocent children in prison living with their mothers and those affected, directly or indirectly, by HIV face greater discrimination from society, their community and even their own families; this only impedes their development. SETU focuses on supporting these children, by providing funding for their education and care, transferring the children of prisoners to stable accommodation and liaising with other charities and donors to support them emotionally and financially. By educating and empowering the child, SETU paves the way for a brighter future.
ONGD/FNEL of Luxembourg is supporting us for livelihood and education program to mother and children suffering by HIV. An Australian group is also supporting us partially to run the transit home.
Enabling deprived women and children to regain an independent, decent and dignified life in society by technically and spiritually empowering them.
Provide advocacy to women when necessary and to orientate them to appropriate organizations, according to their needs. Allow each and every woman to live a dignified life, by providing skill training, psychological counseling and empowerment. In conjunction with this, improve the livelihood and upbringing of both deprived children and the children of vulnerable women (i.e., those imprisoned or suffering from HIV) by providing them with the necessary care, shelter and education.
Ensure social justice by building a gender egalitarian society where women and children irrespective of their caste, culture, creed, religion and faith live harmoniously an independent and dignified life.
Our prison program :
Setu’s main objective is to help those women and their children who are in prison and released from prisons in Nepal. After helping those women, Setu realized that not only prisoner women need help but also, those women, whose husbands have been incarcerated. Therefore Setu is focusing now to help women in/out prison and the women and children whose men are in prison (after needy based assessment). SETU helps by providing various training programmes for these women for empowering them and improving their life skill so that they can easily be re-integrated into their own society after being released from jail. In this regard, Setu works as in-care and out-care phase. Providing education support to the children of those women is one of the components of in-care phase activities.
Women occupy a very low position in Nepali society, and not only women leaving prison but also women whose husbands are in jail may be subjected to extreme social, economic and emotional hardships. In addition, many of these women are illiterate, poor and without family ties. These issues affect not only them, but also their children. SETU provides a residential care for those children whose parents are in jail and have no one to look after them.
Women of Nepal occupy half of the total population, among them only few are economically and socially independent. Most of them either depend upon their husband or depend upon their parents for their livelihood. The majority of women are illiterate and unskilled which make them more vulnerable. Women who are released from prison face more problems than other women because the society and their family don’t accept them. They don’t have any source of income through which they can feed their children and themselves. In this situation, they choose the wrong path in order to support their children. In most of the cases, they are either involved in prostitution or commit other crime. SETU strives for these women to re-socialize and supports them to live a dignified life.
Our HIV program:
As Aarati home is a transit place, we try to find permanent solutions for the children with HIV. Moreover, we provide support for the children’s treatment when they are HIV infected and take them to the hospital as per the need.
Including transit home for children with HIV with accompanying their mother, we provide trainings for them (mother). They have much more to face than their health problem. They are victim of discrimination because of their HIV infection and often have no source of income, especially when they lost their husband. These trainings have different aims. Again, the different topics we broach during the program are thought to empower them and give them some tips to improve their lifestyle. We give them the basic knowledge about hygiene, nutrition, aware them about gender differences (natural vs constructed by society).
The feedbacks we got from them a few months after while visiting them for monitoring and evaluation of our training program are very positive and encouraging.