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  • Writer's pictureProject Dots & Loops

Supporting the women of Tharu (Nepal, India)

In October 2024, Dots and Loops engaged with a new community. The Tharu tribe lives in the border area of Nepal and India, and has historically been marginalized. Although the people lack opportunities found in more urban areas, they are proud and have a rich culture. The clothes are colourful, the houses are vividly decorated and they are very welcoming to outsiders.


Dots and Loops established a microproject with a local organisation. The purpose is to provide the women in the village of Dhuskeya and surroundings (in Uttar Pradesh, India) the means to start economic activities. As it is a very rural community living predominantly from subsistence agriculture, electricity is not always available.


With a total investment of 3000 euro, Dots and Loops invested in two things. First, we delivered 45 pedal sewing machines to local women to start sewing workshops. The objective is that women sew clothing or objects for themselves and their familes as well as to sell at local markets. Secondly, we delivered agricultural equipment and seeds for local crops for a full season. This is a very expensive part of agriculture and not everyone can afford to buy the best quality seeds.


The Tharu community of Dhuskeya

The Tharu community lives all along the border between Nepal and India. We visited some villages on the Western part of the border, north of Lucknow in the province of Uttar Pradesh in India.


Dhuskeya is a rural community in the jungle. It is indicated on the maps below by two overlapping green flags.




The tribal communities are poor, but are rich in culture and tradition. This was proudly displayed on our arrival. The dress is colourful, in particular of the women, with vivid colours and lots of jewelry.


The project

We learned about the community through an Indian exchange student in Italy from a region nearby. One thing led to the other and soon there were the basics of an interesting project. We prepared well several months ahead through a local contact to understand the needs of the community. Besides the workshops on feminine hygiene, the community was interested in support for their farming and sewing activities.


Therefore, it was decided to purchase seeds of a variety of vegetables and herbs, some farming equipment, as well as as many sewing machines as we could support in our budget. This turned out to be 45 pedal sewing machines, suitable for a context where electricity is not available all through the day.


Everything was purchased by the time of our arrival, so they could be distributed to the local communities. A huge thank you to Pranshant who worked tirelessly to organise everything for our time in the area. Prashant put together lists of girls and women for the hygiene workshops, he organised the logistics and set-up of where we held our events, he sourced all of the items we donated and even found a local family where we slept and ate our meals.


Kanchan, Mirjam and Jill were welcomed by women of the local community in traditional dress

Empowering women

In line with its mission, Dots and Loops targets to support mostly women. Every field visit is an opportunity to reach out to young women and try to empower them. As usual, this is done through our workshops, where we discuss feminine hygiene and female empowerment.


This time, we managed to distribute 200 kits for feminine hygiene. After the workshop, the young girls and women were proudly showing their colourful bags.



Impact and local media

The project was well received by the local communities. It received a lot of attention in the local media too. We were happy to see several interviews and reports on TV and YouTube. They show clearly how the sewing machine and agricultural supplies were distributed, and how the feminine hygiene kits work in practice.


You can see them here:




Thanks

Thanks to the volunteers that helped make this possible. Our president Jillian Crocker, together with Mirjam Breukers and Kanchan Singh. Thanks to Raj Kumar the driver, who drove us safely to this remote region and helped make the trip a pleasant experience.


Large thanks too to all the donors that contribute to make this possible.


From left to right: Jillian Crocker, Mirjam Breukers, Kanchan Singh and Prashand


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