We came across the Nepali Chhori blog by accident — via a link a singer posted on google. So, we visited the link thinking we were contacting the singer, but were actually contacting Richa Pokhrel and her blog. After a couple of email conversations, we became aware of our mistake. However, we were so moved by the women’s stories and the other content on the blog that we wanted to share it here. Richa, first of all, congratulations on the award your blog received and second, thank you so much for allowing us to share you and your work here. We also thank you for uniting Nepalese women and helping the overall collective of women to gain more rights, respect, appreciation and understanding. Women need women. Together we are strong. The heading of the website reads: “Being a Nepali Woman in Today’s World.” First, tell our readers what “Nepali Chhori” means and second, what was your reason for starting your Nepali Chhori blog?
Nepali Chhori means Nepali daughter. I wanted to create a safe space for Nepali woman, no matter where they live, to come together and talk about things that affect us. I couldn’t find any place on the internet for just Nepali woman so I thought a blog was the way to go. I realize that we aren’t going to have the same experiences but we will be able to understand each other and come together.
How many different writers contribute to your blog?
Currently we have 6 regular writers, including myself but we do have guest authors from time to time. We are always looking for more Nepali women writers.
Are they all Nepali women?
All of them are Nepali, but we all live in different parts of the world.
We found several stories where writers talk about their experiences as a part of the culture of United States and how it conflicts or varies with the Nepalese culture that their parents hold on to. One story specifically was “Adulthood,” where the writer’s mother flew out to her college to meet with her college advisor. She felt it was a little over the top, but by her mother’s standards, it was perfectly appropriate. In your opinion, for situations like this, is this culture difference a really big problem or not a problem at all?
In that example, I think that was very extreme as in terms of cultural differences. I don’t think most Nepali parents would do that in America. In general, Nepali parents are very involved in their children’s lives, even as we get older. Even though I am in my late 20s, my mother still calls and asks if I have eaten and what I have eaten. I am married and they still see me as a little girl. Independence and individuality isn’t something that is taught in Nepal, we are a society that depends on our family and friends. For of us who grew up outside the country, we struggle with this notion because in Western cultures, independence and individuality is something that is taught early on. Sometimes the things our parents do seem extreme here but some these situations wouldn’t be extreme in Nepal.
- Citizenship through mothers. Currently, it’s very difficult for people to get citizenship without proving both parents are Nepali. This affects millions of people, especially children who are born to single mothers, refugee mothers, mothers who were abandoned by their husbands, and Nepali women who married foreign nationals. They are deemed stateless. The Citizenship Certificate is needed to do the most basic of things in Nepal like registering for school, buying property, vote, opening a bank account, etc. However, children of Nepali men who marry foreign nationals don’t have this problem because they automatically get citizenship through descent. Nepal is currently working on drafting the new constitution, there has been big activism in changing the law so that citizenship can be granted either by the mother or father, not both.
Education. Many girls in the rural areas don’t have access to education even though basic education is supposed to be free for everyone.
- Access to resources. It’s nearly impossible to get bank loans and women can’t inherit land easily.
- Menstruation practices. There are still practices of “chaupadi” in rural Nepal for women who are menstruating. This essentially means they can’t practice in normal activities like cooking, cleaning, being around others. This was banned in 2005 but it is still being practiced.