I would like to present myself as a human being or, let's say, I am learning to be a human being. To be biologically human and ‘being human' is a tremendous difference. In today's world, humans are the most dominant creature, but the cosmos is not only about humans and it is not made for only humanity. The cosmos is made for diversity, where the human being is the most sophisticated creature who has developed a sense of responsibility for all.
– Puja Koirala, Nepal
”I am a rebel in nature”
I studied a Master in Business Science, but even then I was already actively involved in student union politics. I am a rebel in nature and felt responsible to do something while I witnessed the social issues around me. There were so many unsolved issues like human rights, different forms of violence, corruption, social injustice; these topics continuously throb within me. I tried to understand and find the best solutions being at the forefront and have since then been advocating for human value and equal opportunity. So it was an obvious choice to become part of the Nepal Red Cross in 2008. I understood and admired the humanistic value of its fundamental principles and worldwide work. Since then I have had the opportunity to learn and contribute to different teams and on different levels. I have been active in Disaster and Crisis Management Programming, Livelihood, School/Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction, Master Trainer for Emergency Response and Responder Team Training and Protection Gender & Inclusion (PGI).
After the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015, we made huge efforts to ensure the quality services through PGI. Our society was in a major need of inclusive services and had to mitigate the different issues of sexual gender-based violence that always increased after a disaster. I initiated steps to ensure a safe environment during the period of earthquake operation by institutionalizing the Code of Conduct for Child Protection and Anti-harassment within the organization. I also established a reporting mechanism to respond to the employee/volunteer and community cases on any kind of sexual and gender-based violence. This brought an immense opportunity for the process of realizing what needed to change in our society.
In Nepal women and men have different social responsibilities, women are more focused on domestic work, while men have taken other responsibility beyond the household. Our social values and culture are based upon that tradition and that is a fact that we need to understand. It doesn't mean that we have to go against our culture and values for equality. I don't see any meaning in fighting against anything. Rather we have to enlighten the real strength and quality of women. The gender inclusion movement that started not only in Nepal but all over the world, should work to create the environment of equal opportunity for enhancing the basic quality of men and women. Because when there are equal forces, there won't be any fighting, there won't be any violence, instead, there will be great harmony which will foster creativity, peace and prosperity.
I believe that a good leader is someone who dares to work upon oneself and can inspire and influence others. I don’t know if I am a good leader. But I believe a good leader only needs one quality: to see things clearly that others cannot see. That is why I try my best to give a strong sense of peaceful presence to the people and leaders of our country and try to make them see why Protection Gender and Inclusion is good for our society and will improve our quality of life. Every step we take in this process is a conscious effort towards a more equal society. Every approach should touch the human heart.
But what we do is less significant, it is about how we do it that brings the result. What subjects and topics we advocate for have less meaning if we don't practice it in our daily life. That is what people and societies need to grow. So let’s start with ourselves. We should not have to be revolutionaries or reformers. The only thing we need to have is a conscious and peaceful presence, integrity and love in our actions. Only then we can grow into better human beings.
Across all regions, between 45-57 per cent of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are women.