Libraries: Safe Place for Women
READ Centers (Community Library and Resource Centers) provide a powerful platform for social transformations through women's empowerment, education, technology for development and economic enhancement. These community initiated and owned grassroots Centers have been described as "safe places" by the women themselves where they can come to gather and learn. They do not need permission from their husband/fathers to visit the Center as they (the men) also see it as a "safe place". READ Centers provide dedicated room for women with resources, tools and programming target at women and girls. Therefore these "safe places" also become a place where women empower and enhance themselves with knowledge, skills and opportunities to rise.
Inspiration: Women are strong, resilient and can change her fate and her family's only if she is given an opporutnity to do. This is inspiring story because at the age of 47, when Chuna saw the opporutnity at the READ Center, she took it on with such gusto.
Meet Chuna Devi, who once said that “being born as a girl is worthless." As a girl in rural Nepal, her education was never a priority. She grew up herding goats and cows for her family, and was married off at the age of 16.
At the age of 47, Chuna changed her and her daughters’ lives by finally learning to read. She went to her local READ Center, and enrolled in a literacy course and other training programs in mushroom and vegetable farming, and women's leadership. Today she is transformed.
Key learnings - libraries and resource centers can be a powerful platform as it is seen as a "safe place" and non-threatening. A place traditionally many would not make the connection! The changing of role of libraries or as some describes it "house of knowledge" in development.
Questions - Can this be replicated in other countries or can traditional libraries respond or transform to changing needs?