As the first year of our Akasha Traineeship program is coming to completion, it is a good time to reflect on the positive development and all that has happened during the last months.
The Akasha Traineeship started in December 2021 to educate young women about general health, social and environmental challenges in Nepal and to provide a safe space and orientation for them to discover their skills and possibilities for future. We offered practical knowledge, skills and solutions to prepare the participants for their future educational and career paths, and empowered them to become change-makers in their communities.
It has been an inspiring journey to see how much the women have developed during the traineeship. We see a lot of potential to tackle social and environmental challenges and to create a positive impact through education.
The challenges in Nepal
Educating and empowering women in Nepal is important for many reasons.
In Nepal, women are facing many disadvantages and discrimination. Especially those living in rural areas and coming from underprivileged families often do not have the opportunity to decide over their own future. Getting married at an early age is often the only option they have. Furthermore, we realized that many talented young women who would be eager to learn, cannot continue their education due to abusive family situations or a lack of financial resources. That’s why it is very important to provide them a safe space to learn and to offer them orientation so they may discover their abilities and especially their freedom of choice.
Also, environmental destruction such as air and water pollution or deforestation is a big challenge and is negatively impacting millions of lives in Nepal. Additionally, social issues like poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence and a lack of access to medical services are big challenges in many communities.
Therefore, today – more than ever – young people need to be educated about these challenges to be able to make a change.
When the students started the program, most of them had little to no knowledge about basic health topics or sustainability. Also, many of them were very shy. Now, after 7 months of training, 6 days a week, the changes are remarkable.
Their English skills have improved significantly through the intensive classes. They also have acquired basic medical knowledge by learning from doctors and nurses and are ready to start working as health counselors and sharing their knowledge with others. They have learned about sustainability through several workshops, for example on composting, gardening and planting trees. And most of all, they have gained strength and confidence through physical exercises, self-defense classes and acrobatics. This became visible in community theater and acrobatic performances with a social message – in front of some hundred participants: It seemed like they had been doing this all their lives.
Asking the students how their life has changed through the traineeship, many said that they learned about many different topics they didn’t know about before. Some were more interested in topics like menstrual health and others about making a change through social theater and other community work. But all of them said that they have become much more confident and want to share with others what they have learned.
Supporting the communities
In the last two months, the students have already been able to put into practice the skills they have learned within their training. They have performed theater plays addressing some pressing social topics in the communities, such as the stigma around menstruation, domestic violence, and gender inequality. They have also been present in a Health Camp where locals can get free medical services. There they talked to other women and offered them support through counseling.
Applying directly what they have learned from various experts during the program, the students themselves now have become role models in their community. It has been inspiring to see how they have been able to help others and the very positive feedback they received from the community.
The Akasha Traineeship is a part of a larger vision: The Akasha Academy follows the vision of Tulku Khyungdor Rinpoche, a Master practitioner of an ancient Buddhist practice path, to create pathways for the future of our planet, based on universal ethics.
“We all breathe the same air, we all drink the same water, we all walk on the same earth”
~ TK Rinpoche
Therefore, we all need to take on the responsibility to take care of it. Understanding the impact, we have on each other and on the planet, and finding a common sense to protect it beyond nationality, religion, or color of skin, is necessary for the survival of our planet.
The Akasha Traineeship has been established on this foundation – to create conditions for Freedom of Choice and a space to learn, train and apply Universal Ethics.