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25 years of BPKF
In Nepal, amidst the many foundations working towards exploring and promoting Nepalese culture, one significant foundation is the BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation. Established in 1991 as per MoU between Government of India and Government of Nepal, the Kathmandu Secretariat of this Foundation is co-located with the Embassy of India. Over the past 25 years, the BP Koirala Foundation has not just served as a cultural organisation but has touched the lives of many communities throughout Nepal through its multi-faceted activities.
Be it art or literature, dance or music, academic research or scientific training, educational pursuits or child development, the Foundation has undertaken activities on various levels in its attempts to identify and create appreciation for various facets of the Nepalese living. In doing so, the Foundation has quietly brought significant changes to the lives of many men and women, children and young students amongst communities of the hills and the plains. More significantly, the Foundation has been able to influence the lives of many women in different areas of Nepal.Ambassador of India to Nepal Shri Ranjit Rae, who is also the Co-Chairperson of the Foundation, stated that, “The BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation today has emerged as an important pillar of India-Nepal cooperation.”
One such very successful endeavor has been the training programme held by the BPKoirala Foundation in Pokhara where 900 women were trained. In this training programme spanning several months, women were trained in the field of radio journalism and public speaking with the help of Durga Adhikari’s Radio Safalta. Secretary, BP Koirala Foundation, Ruby Jaspreet Sharma commented that, “This programme has been a particularly beautiful experience as not all the women who benefitted from this training were educated or working. Many of them were housewives who had never worked anywhere. At the end of the training, they all were beaming with confidence and expressed their happiness with being able to speak at public gatherings!”
The Foundation has supported many research projects and trainings which go on to benefit several communities in Nepal. Realising the fast diminishing Basketry Skills of Tharu women, the Foundation sponsored a Research Project in conservation and promotion of the basket making culture. Shyam Badan Shrestha, the instructor for the research project, remarked that, “Working with Tharu women was a great learning experience. We hope that our efforts will be able to produce results in preserving as well as promoting this beautiful tradition outside the Tharu region also.”
In the 25-year long span that the Foundation has covered, it has touched the lives of so many women in so many profound ways. BPKF has attempted to provide a platform to communities across Nepal while also showcasing skills and performances unique to these communities. Its Culture Nagari programmes have brought out the different facets of the performing art forms ranging from tradition Jomsom to cosmopolitan Pokhara, and art forms in Biratnagar showcasing a mix of traditionality and modernism.
The Foundation has provided a platform where women from different fields have come forward and shared their experiences with the youth. An attempt at sensitizing young school children was the celebration of the International Women’s Day this year, in association with WOW magazine, wherein five women entrepreneurs from different fields talked about the challenges faced by them in realising their ambitions. The event saw women of all backgrounds talking about the commonality in the kind of constrains they had to face both at home and at work as they tried to create a place for themselves.
As the Foundation completes 25 years of its establishment, it is committed to continue its efforts towards fostering ties between the people of India and Nepal in the coming years.