Sunsari - key achievements
UMN’s Sunsari Cluster (in Sunsari and Morang districts) worked for 16 years in community transformation, from 2004 until June 2020.
We are very thankful to our long-standing partners and the support we have received from everyone in this enriching journey of learning, sharing and building each other. From the many projects and their success, here are a few achievements that we want to list out. Closing of a cluster however does not mean the community stops dreaming, achieving and changing. There are many partners who are now strong and independent of UMN, who will carry on the good work.
Disability – UMN’s partner Nepal Chelibeti Disabled Women Society (NCDWS) in Sunsari has been one of our strongest partners in the district in disability work. The results we see in the area of disability have been amazing. Some of the biggest impacts besides treatment and provision of assistive devices have been in the acceptance of children or people with disability in society by dealing with the discrimination children faced. With years of persistent lobbying, schools now not only accept them for admission openly but also have ramps and toilets which are geared to be disability-friendly.
Committees have been formed in 40 schools to advocate for the rights of children with disability. People with disability are aware of their rights and understand and value their dignity. We see many of them now in colleges, handling good jobs, businesses and foreign employments. The partner NCDWS is well respected and appreciated for their commitment in the district.
Child-Centred Community Development - This project has run well for the last nine years, succeeding to bring transformation in the lives of children living in tough community settings. Social issues like practice of child-marriage, child labour and discrimination between girls and boys in the family and the community have been reduced to almost zero. Children themselves have identified issues related to child rights and protection and have taken the initiative to spread awareness in the community. Through the project’s activities, the children now see themselves as valued members of society and are aware of their rights.
HIV home-based care - For 12 long years, UMN through its partner Nawa Jeewan Samaj Sewa (NJSS) has grappled with the societal issues of HIV and AIDS in various communities of Sunsari. They have addressed the stigma attached to it, arranged treatment and home-based care to those who need it and offered counselling to the families. NJSS and other likeminded organisations established a referral system too, where one organisation refers to another to support multiple issues and needs of those affected. All the people living with HIV in UMN’s working locations are now enrolled in health insurance.
Cross-border security - Sunsari Cluster has been appreciated and recognised at the district level for their contribution in the area of cross-border security (India-Nepal). Through its partner Chandramukhi Club (CMC) , Local Peace Committee members, Indian security forces and civil society, the cross-border crimes and peacebuilding issues that were troubling the border community for decades have now been controlled significantly. There has also been an increase in interaction and cooperation between Hindu and Muslim communities of the project area who seldom used to interact and work together in the past.
Trauma Healing project
The trauma healing project was started in Sunsari after communities faced serious challenges following the big flood of the Koshi river in 2007. Along with physical destruction, individuals and families were traumatised and distressed by the devastating event. The five-year long project run by our partner Participant Mobilization Centre has given the survivors a feeling that they have hope and control over their lives again. After a period of hearing their stories and therapeutic sessions we saw the communities moving beyond the trauma to better days ahead.