95. From soldiers to beauticians
“Before I couldn’t even break stones. The course in beauty therapy taught me entrepreneurial skills, restored my confidence and helped me to open my own beauty salon. I am an accepted member of the village community now and I can use my income to pay for my children’s school fees,” says Sita Sodhari, a former Maoist fighter from Nepal. She joined the Maoists when she was sixteen to fight the Government.
When the civil war ended in 2006, the Government tried to support the reintegration of former fighters into society by providing them with return packages. Return was, however, difficult particularly for women, because their families and communities did not welcome them back with open arms. Thanks to a programme launched by the UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a total of 270 women received vocational training that has helped them to find work and earn a living. The programme also supported women’s participation in political decision-making and offered services to women who had experienced violence.
The UN Women programme is closely linked to the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security that aims to protect women and girls in situations of armed conflict and to increase their participation in peace efforts. Finland has collaborated with a number of countries in the preparation of national action plans for implementing the UN Resolution 1325 and supported the implementation of these plans in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kenya.
Photo: UN Women, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta