Sanjiya Shrestha – Women Deliver
2020

Sanjiya Shrestha

  • Age: 25
  •    |   She/her/hers

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The gender you belong to doesn’t matter after all. 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 a gender-equal world a reality.

- Sanjiya Shrestha

Bio

Sanjiya Shrestha was born and raised in Nepal. She is working toward a post-graduate degree in counseling psychology at Tibhuwan University. Sanjiya is a Peer Educator at the Family Planning Association of Nepal and Treasurer at Chain For Change. Previously, she interned at the United Nations Information Centre and Sanga-Sangai.

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 to have the opportunity to work as a peer educator at the Family Planning Association of Nepal. Being a part of this agency, I have been working in the sector of SRHR, conducting various training sessions to educate and make people aware of gender and sexual and reproductive health issues, organizing health camps in various rural communities and explaining about contraceptives and birth control measures for persons with disabilities. I have also taken personal initiatives to spread knowledge about menstrual hygiene to the youth and school-aged children of different educational institutions.

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:

  • Best Caption Award in Blind Rocks Mr. And Ms. Fashion Icon (September 2018)
  • Leadership Training for Youth with Visual Impairment Country Championship Programme by International Council for the Education of Persons with Visual Impairment West Asia Nepal Chapter (August 2018)
  • Golden Jubilee Scholarship for Undergraduate Course BA by Government of India (2015–2016)
  • HIV and AIDS Training by Forward Looking Nepal (November 2014)
  • Radio Anchoring & Journalism Training by Forward Looking Nepal (March-June 2014)
  • Basic Computer Course Training by Forward Looking Nepal (May-December 2013)
  • Fight-Back Risk Management of Sexual Violence against Women Training by Paritran Risk Management Consultancy and Training Institute (June 2013)
  • Third Position in the Zonal Round of International Art & Craft Contest by Creative Minds International Art & Craft (2010)

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