Association for Dalit Women Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) is a human rights organization for Dalit (so called low-caste) women and children. It is a non-political, not profit making and non-government organization (NGO) legally registered at Kathmandu District Administration Office (D.A.O. Reg. No. 99/055/056) and is affiliated to Social Welfare Council. The organization was founded in 2055 B.S. (1998 A.D.) by a group of young and motivated Dalit women who had overcome immense obstacles of poverty, gender and caste discriminations and is run by them.
Its main objective is the empowerment of Dalit women and children. It is working in rural Nepal promoting solidarity for women across caste lines and empowering them through education, micro finance, human rights awareness and health trainings.
Through education, literacy-led saving groups and awareness programs the women become catalysts for social change, especially in terms of children’s education, domestic violence and caste-class-gender relations. ADWAN aims to foster a measure of economic independence, to boost self-esteem, and to instill solidarity and a sense of national pride. ADWAN currently operates in Gorkha, Ilam, Arghakhanchi, Baglung, Jhapa, Chitwan and Sarlahi. It has formed 78 Dalit women’s groups uniting over 2,200 rural women into saving and credit groups.
Bishnu Maya Pariyar is the founder of the organization. Ms Pariyar is one of eight daughters from a Dalit (Damai) family of traditional tailor in rural Gorkha. She has personally overcome immense obstacles of poverty, gender and caste discrimination to become a social worker and activist. She has currently graduated Master’s Degree from Clark University (one of the world’s top university in the USA) in “International Development and Social Change”.