Susmita Bhandari won the Community Development Award Winner in 2022 for her efforts in ending child labour, child marriage and gender inequality.
She was born in a family with three daughters, and she was the youngest one. In society, people usually don’t want a girl child. The girls have to face many difficulties and get used to having less priority and preference than boys from their relatives and people of the society. They receive less nutritious food compared to baby boys. They have less time for breast feeding milk than boys.
When she wants to join veterinary medicine, people suggest that there is no scope on veterinary medicine for girls as it will be difficult to handle large animals. She didn’t listen and now she has completed the 2nd semester of B.VSc and A.H and started the 3rd semester on full scholarship in one and only technical university of Nepal, Agriculture and Forestry University.
She has started CFLG mission (Child friendly Local Governance) and campaign to end child labor, child marriage and gender inequality through different awareness and orientation programs, leadership development training, different competition like oratory, quiz etc. in her municipality. For this they have to implement its 39 indicators as per Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG) National Strategy, 2068. Up to today they have successfully announced our 2 wards (one of which is her ward) and 2 schools as child friendly.
She is working to make a child and girls friendly country through adolescent girls’ network/Forum, child clubs and other networks. She has also organized and participated in many online webinars, workshops and discussion programs on gender equality, children beyond gender, girls get equal campaign, sexual and reproductive health rights, menstrual hygiene and management, orientation on gender and sexuality, success story writing and telling, online safety, life skill training etc.
In 2022, she has been involving in school awareness program on rabies through rotaract Club of Gaindakot, peer educator as advocacy on online child sexual exploitation for school children for 13 schools of two different districts with the help of CWIN Nepal, online volunteer of UNDP for the campaign my vote my future during local election and many more online and offline programs on gender equality, animal health and environment. She is also raising awareness through videos, poems, articles, posters etc. on social issues.
She believes with the assistance of the Garden of Hope she can expand her project to more people and girls to get more coverage, and it will be great encouragement and inspiration to lots of girls to work for making the society a safe place. The girls will also get more confidence that a girl from a small area can represent themselves on national and international platforms.