Sanjiya Shrestha – Women Deliver

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2020

Sanjiya Shrestha

  • Age: 27
  •    |   She/her/hers

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A welcoming world is always accessible for all. No matter your gender, age, disability or intersecting and diverse identities; Each one of us is a different, unique, and yet equally capable human being. Let's join hands and put our effort from all sectors to make an accessible world a reality.

- Sanjiya Shrestha

Bio

Sanjiya Shrestha is born and raised in Nepal. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Tribhuvan University. Sanjiya is a Youth Champion and Peer Counselor/Educator at the Family Planning Association of Nepal, Co-founder and Treasurer of Chain For Change and Secretary at Women wing – ADRAD Nepal. She is a Freelance Mental Health Counselor and SRHR and disability right activist. With more than 5 years of experience in SRHR of Persons with disabilities, she has conducted 150+ sessions relating to SRHR, CSE and GBV. She is a winner of IPPF SARO small grant 2022 and has developed first ever Peer-educator guidelines relating to SRHR of persons with disabilities. Previously, she interned at the United Nations Information Centre.

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

Even today, there are cultural practices that influence gender discrimination where women are facing the double burden of accomplishing traditionally defined gender roles and walking up with the modern time. Women with disabilities like me have another layer of burdens to shoulder. I want to thrash out against this triple burden and show the world that nothing can stop me from living my life as I want. I want to motivate the rest of my community and lead towards living in the world we are born to flourish.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

An issue of sexual and reproductive health is still a huge taboo in my country, Nepal, where cultural values are given utmost importance. In this context, having a disability becomes an additional challenge in the stereotypical community like of mine. One of my biggest wins was being awarded with IPPF SARO Small Grant 2022 where I developed first ever Peer-educator guidelines relating to SRHR of persons with disabilities. With more than 5 years of experience in SRHR of Persons with disabilities, I have conducted 150+ sessions relating to SRHR, CSE and GBV. I have spoken in numerous national and international forums as a panelist where I advocated for the SRHR of persons with disabilities like in South Asia Regional Summit, ICEVI, Dialog with Finland parliamentary along with UNFPA team and government of Nepal. I had also spoken in interviews and podcast in national and international medias. On top of that, I even got to publish my research article in one of the publicly renown newspaper of my country.

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

I have a keen interest in acting since my childhood and have dreamt of being an actress. Recently, I received a wonderful opportunity to play a role in a short movie that is under production. I am one of the first blind models in my country Nepal and have walked on a runway in fashion events and participated in photoshoot indorsing products. To the world, it might sound impossible to witness a blind girl draw and paint her heart out in a portrayal, but for me, sketching the scenery and image I see provides me immense joy. Not only cherishing the art on paper, I am also into depicting my feelings through dance during my leisure. I am also highly interested in studying about religion, culture, and holy books. Similarly, I love hosting events and one day hope to conduct radio and television programs too.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced/Native)
  • Nepali (Advanced/Native)
  • Newari (Advanced/Native)
  • Hindi (Intermediate)

Speaks On:

  • SRHR for girls and women with visual impairments in Nepal
  • engaging people with visual impairments in the media and beauty industry
  • sexual violence against visually impaired women in Nepal

Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:

  • Winner of the small grant for youth 2022 by International Plan parenthood Federation South Asian Regional Office (IPPF SARO). (2022)
  • Youth Champion 2020-2022 at “Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) Valley Branch.” (2020 – 2022 AD)
  • Awarded with a best youth volunteer 2020 from Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN Valley Branch. (2020)
  • Golden Jubilee Scholarship for Under Graduate Course BA in Nepal by Government of India (2015 – 2018 AD)
  • Scholarship for higher studies by Rotary Club of Kasthamandap (27th June, 2013 AD)