Tarangini Mahila Adhikar Prashikshyan Kendra (Tarangini Foundation), established in 2017, is a non-profit organization working on women’s rights. The Sanskrit word ‘Tarangini’ means person (feminine) creating waves. It is derived from the word “tarang” which means wave in English. This term is chosen for the institute as it best represents feminists and their movement in Nepal, which always created and is creating waves within all spheres of socio-political existence in the country.
Nepal has a long-standing history of Feminist struggle. It has been more than 100 years that feminists from the grassroots level struggled and advocated for equality, social justice, and the right to bodily integrity. The history of the socio-political transformation of the country where feminists played a very key and meaningful role suggests that the struggle undertook different methodologies. As mentioned, feminists at all levels have made a remarkable contribution to bringing Nepal to the stage it is in now. However, the struggle of these feminists, especially those from the grassroots level, is hardly recognized or acknowledged. It is painful to evidence the little recognition of women’s work and the existing acknowledgment also largely being focused on the urban-based largely donor-funded activities. Tarangini strongly believes that bringing the activities done by feminists from the grassroots, documenting their work, and methodologies taken is one of the keys to strengthening the feminist movement forward.
For a large part of history, Nepal fought to transform the country from an authoritarian regime to democratic politics. Feminists were always part of these movements for democracy. Feminists had two agendas (1) Democracy and (2) Women’s issues, especially women’s identity, bodily integrity, violence against women, women’s work, and different forms of discrimination among various others. However, in this process of political struggle within a very strong patriarchal structure women’s issues, voices and issues have been suppressed and sidelined. There is enough evidence suggesting that the movement generated by women residing at villages far from the capital, especially at the grassroots level, was even more robust and full of strength.
We can say that the seeds of the women’s movement were sown there, and activists dared to nurture those seedlings, despite every odd at their personal and public lives. Similarly, several remarkable feminists in the cities have always advocated and are advocating for women’s rights, but often these movements are not visible. These activities don’t fall under the interest of media or researchers. The type of feminism that focuses on individual participation rather than seeking change at a systematic level has unfortunately gained more recognition. This situation has done more damage to the women’s movement making most people believe that the issues related to women’s rights and the movement are losing momentum.
Feminism centers on all kinds of oppression and challenges unequal power relationships in different spheres of life. People need to be made aware of this. Due to the phobia created by the strong patriarchal value-driven media and other stakeholders against feminists and feminism, a large population has misunderstood feminism. Thus, it is necessary to challenge the view on feminists and feminism portrayed at present at different levels. This can be done using different forms of media and strategies. Human stories are a very powerful tool to make people understand, internalize and transform their behavior. Thus we at Tarangini believe that it is necessary to bring feminist voice, work, and methodologies by documenting their stories. Bringing these stories will help people understand and learn about the life, work, and struggles of feminist role models.
Tarangini Foundation was established to reclaim and save feminist gains by accelerating the documentation process. The process of documentation will be based on the real-life experiences of feminists at all levels. Similarly, it will also include the documentation of the movement as well as achievements made in women’s rights issues.
- To create an enabling environment for feminists and their movement to get strengthened, understood, recognized, and visible.
- Strengthen women activists and Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) to advance the issues of women human rights
- ·Develop an appropriate model of self-care management to improve the personal and professional lives of women activists to strengthen and sustain the feminist movement
- Document and preserve narratives of the individual and institutional journey of Nepali feminist
- Strengthen Feminist movement by building the capacity of young feminists using an intergenerational approach of capacity building workshops and mentorship
- Strengthen feminists by enabling them to politicize the feminist movement
- Facilitate policy dialogue to bring the issues of women in the forefront
- Bridge personal, political, and institutional gaps within the movement
- Enable feminists to live a stress-free life by imparting knowledge and skills on everyday practices of self-care