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【#GOHIntl: Girls Entrepreneurs X Girls Empowering Partners X International Corporate X UNDP】 2022/04/07

【#GOHIntl: Girls Entrepreneurs X Girls Empowering Partners X International Corporate X UNDP】

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, The Garden of Hope Foundation held the “Girls-Centered Social Enterprise Business Models: A Roundtable Discussion” during the NGO-CSW66 forum. With our greatest honor, Siriwan Phorin, the 8th Asian Girls Human Rights Award recipient, Dipisha Bhujel, the 9th Asian Girls Social Innovation Award recipient, Sandeep Srivastava, the Executive Director of Shohratgarh Environmental Society, Chih-Hui Yang, Director of the Garden of Hope’s Kaohsiung Branch Office, Jennifer Kang, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing of Standard Chartered Bank in Taiwan, and Binita Karki, Youth Officer of UNDP Nepal shared perspectives on their engagements with social entrepreneurship. Through open dialogues, the panelists expressed their commitments towards achieving SDGs.

 

Siriwan, and her mother Matcha, from Thailand, shared with the audiences their rainbow-patterned weavings produced by the #IY4SD team. Their product provided a source of income but also acts as a token of generational reconciliation between local women and the LGBTQIA youths of the Karen community residing at the Thai-Burmese border.

 

Dipisha illuminated the interconnectivity of rural Nepali women’s experience of menstruation with the wider social and economic structure. She and her team in NIDISI have developed locally-sourced biodegradable banana-fiber pads. The team is taking a step further to promote, educate, and raise awareness on menstrual health management while integrating women into the production and business decision-making board.

 

Sandeep representing SES India reminded everyone to take social entrepreneurial projects context-specifically. In rural India, most men leave their homes to work in cities. This leaves women family-bound and dependent on agriculture. Their project supports young females with micro-loans to start their poultry business with additional financial literacy and empowerment peer groups where increased confidence has encouraged 429 women to start saving with banks.

 

Chih-Hui from GOH Kaohsiung reiterated the importance of establishing girls’ confidences, particularly those who have suffered abuse and mistreatment when accompanying them on the journey of exploring interests and career opportunities. “The Second Choice” is a thrift store in preparation where girls are encouraged to explore business ideas, where girls are always given second chances to make better decisions.

 

Jennifer shared with the audience how Futuremakers by Standard Chartered believes that supporting youths contributes to resolving inequality while bringing a positive impact to the world economy.

 

Binita from UNDP Nepal underscored quality education for girls and youths to gain autonomy where she inspired audiences to be their own role models just as she has herself.

 

The panel discussion zoomed in on the challenges of being a girl entrepreneur and the evaluation and success criteria of social enterprises. Siriwan shared her personal experience of institutional ageism and sexism. Dipisha highlighted the production quantity as important to her project, yet inspiring women in rural communities during her fieldwork also cannot be downplayed.

 

Sandeep identified education as a key factor to girls’ financial autonomy and Chih-hui, from first-hand experiences, portrayed empowerment as providing girls with a safe space for trial and error. Jennifer closed the panel by sharing the value of better together: “when we have a common goal, we all can achieve great things.”

 

Working for the best interest of Asian girls, The Garden of Hope invited 6 panelists from 5 countries on the international forum of CSW66 to showcase that beyond protection, Asian girls can also be SDG leaders.  

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