By Naomi Yakawich
Global Peace Women (GPW) Nepal drew over 350 men, women and youth in a Forum Theater to open dialogue on the importance of family values to creating peaceful societies. The forums were held at several locations, including six different Community Learning Centers in Manamaiju and Shikharapur, the Divine Age Home and Nagrik Sachetana Kendra throughout the months of January and February.
To date, GPW Nepal has engaged over 1,900 participants in the Forum Theaters. The Forum Theater was established by GPW Nepal as an awareness program to uplift the value of women within the family, promoting peace among extended family members and the greater society.
Through drama, the Forum Theater exhibits common scenarios in Nepalese family life and its ripple effect on the general community, covering topics ranging from discrimination to the relationships between in-laws and the relationship between husband and wife. Sita Kumari Giri, a participant of the forum in Manamaiju, described the forum as “simple but very vital to maintain peace in society.”
Actors and narrators use drama to highlight the value of the unique complementary qualities of both women and men in raising healthy families and discuss ways to foster respect and cooperation among genders for the sake of the whole family.
Sabhir KC, an attendee of the Shikharapur CLC forum, reflected, “Some small things that we neglect in our everyday life have a larger effect in our community and relationships.” For example, Sabhir explained, “The words used between husband and wife and in-laws affect our life and sometimes create problems between them. We need to be very careful while selecting our language.”
Chairperson of Nagrik Sachetana Kendra, Mana Kumari Subedi, praised the effectiveness of the program. The forums empower individuals and families to be the agents of social change. In a survey conducted before and after the forum, participants who said children should be taught about family values for creating peaceful societies increased from 25% to 80%.
Community members volunteer to narrate the dramas in the Forum Theater. In this way, GPW Nepal creates owners of the solution rather than mere bystanders in the process of promoting stable families. One volunteer described the transformative power of participating in the forum stating, “I learned that to bring a change in a society we need to change ourselves and start with our own family.”
Strong families are the building blocks for healthy societies and the beginning of a peaceful world. Global Peace Women’s ongoing family values education programs continue to bring awareness to the vital role of women leadership within the family and larger community.