Highlights of an intercultural exchange between Nepal and Germany
October 7, 2023
This summer, the enthusiastic and motivated education program manager of the Akasha Academy Nepal, Sushmita Sharma, traveled to Germany for an educational, intercultural exchange.
Long Yang NGO invited the 26-year-old leader for a six weeks stay between July and August 2023. Various events and meetings with representatives of women counseling organizations and political figures gave her the opportunity for a fruitful exchange.
A role model for young women
Sushmita has been working for many years on environmental protection, health issues and women empowerment in Nepal. By doing so, she creates awareness of our connection to nature and the urgency to protect it. For over two years, she has been the education program manager of the Akasha Traineeship, an education program to empower young women in Nepal. As a leader and trainer, Sushmita is a role model for the young Nepalese women. Currently, she is also completing her Master’s degree in Gender Studies and engages as an ambassador for the international video campaign “The Story of a new world”.
Get an impression of Sushmita in her short introduction video as ambassador
From Munich to Berlin and Brussels – Stages of an inspiring journey
Akasha Academy is dedicated to protecting life on earth. Therefore, we aim to collaborate and join forces with like-minded people and organizations globally. During her stay, Sushmita had the chance to meet with many people who engage in different fields to bring about a positive change.
What Sushmita says about the visit:
“The experience was truly transformative and has left an indelible mark on my personal and professional growth. It was an honor to be a part of such an enriching initiative, it has broadened my horizons, enriched my life by allowing me to connect with amazing individuals and organizations. and I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate and learn from the diverse perspectives shared during the exchange. The memories and learnings will stay with me for a lifetime.”
How to create a safe space for women in Germany
Currently, Akasha Academy NGO is establishing Akasha Care to provide a safe space for women in local communities. To learn how such places are organized in Germany, Sushmita met with the representatives of different women counseling centers, women’s shelters and refuge housings in Munich and Berlin. Thank you to Imma e.V., Wüstenrose, Interkulturelle Beratungsstelle and Frauenberatungsstelle Tara for the valuable insights!
How women empowerment and environmental protection are addressed in German and European politics
In Germany and Europe, politics are very different from Nepal. Sushmita visited political institutions and met political figures to learn especially about feminist politics and environmental protection.
During a meeting with the Munich city councilor Julia Post, she was introduced to local politics and women empowerment.
She gained firsthand experiences about decision-making processes on international political level in Brussels through Clara Hirschmann, Valetin Hillen and Tiia Talvisara, who work for the EU.
She also could actively participate and represent Nepal and the initiative #MenstruAction by the GIZ at the Open House Day of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Berlin. Thanks to Jan Schlenk for the invitation.
In a meeting with Svenja Schulze at the Open House Day of the BMZ in Berlin, Sushmita learned about feminist policy in the development sector.
During a visit of the German Parliament in Berlin, Jonas Borgmeier introduced her into the concept of feminist forum policy. J. Borgmeier is the policy advisor of the Minister of State for Europe and Climate Germany Anna Lührmann.
Learning from Nepal – presenting the activities of Akasha Academy Nepal
The purpose of Sushmita’s visit was not only to learn from Germany, but also to present the activities of Akasha Academy Nepal as an example for inspiring a sustainable change.
In guest lectures at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and the Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU), she spoke about planetary health in Nepal and the approach of Akasha Academy to protect the resources of life.
A meeting with a member of NIDISI NGO in Germany was another highlight of her journey. NIDISI NGO is a long-time collaboration partner of Akasha Academy Nepal – both working in the field of menstrual hygiene and health to break taboos and raise awareness in the communities.
With Dr. Bernhard Braunmüller, board member of Q_PERIOR, Sushmita spoke about women’s safety, self-defense and women empowerment. The leading consulting company has been supporting Akasha Traineeship students already for two years.
During a get-together at Akasha Academy Munich, she talked about the situation of women in Nepal and the different activities of Akasha Academy to support them such as the Akasha Care initiative and the education programs.
Outlook and ways to support
Back in Nepal, the preparations for the third batch of students for the Akasha Traineeship are already in full swing. Further steps for the establishment of the Akasha Care initiative are in the planning. The experience of the journey and the positive feedback will help Sushmita grow with the increasing responsibility: The activities and the team of Akasha Academy Nepal are growing and so are the requirements for good management and leadership.
This intercultural exchange could only be realized with the support of many. Thank you to everyone who contributed to realize this empowering and fruitful journey!
If you want to support our activities for women empowerment and environmental protection, you can help with a donation. Your donation can create a tremendous change in the life of young women and their surrounding!