ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Amra Odbhuth Collective
Amra Odbhuth is a trans art collective and community centre in West Bengal, India. Working with LGBTQ youth through community art and theatre projects, they provide queer library services, in house counselling, peer support and a shelter space to trans and gender non-conforming youth. They are providing critical medical and mental health support to trans and GNC persons, as well as shelter, food and hygiene products to ensure survival during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Adolescent Girls Group
Adolescent Girls Group from Bangladesh works to support girls and young women who are facing challenges in sexual reproductive health management and hygiene promotion. It also aims to end child marriage through collaboration with local district levels of government. The group is directly supporting girls and young women during this crisis to access and maintain good hygiene practices.
Transvoice, a young feminist group from West Java in Indonesia, aims to help the transwoman community in accessing information and services related to health, legal protection and economic empowerment.
Province Level Network Against Child Marriage
Province Level Network Against Child Marriage is a feminist network in Nepal. Led by young women campaigning against child marriage, the group advocates for the empowerment of young women and community partnerships. During the pandemic, girls and young women are facing various sexual and reproductive health problems and associated mental health issues, and a high number of girls have taken their own lives. The spread of the disease is exacerbated in rural areas, especially among women and girls from indigenous and marginalized communities where education levels are low. In addition, the sexual and reproductive health needs of these girls and young women have not been considered. Province Level Network Against Child Marriage aims to provide rural and marginalized communities with education, support and hygiene products to improve both the physical and mental health outcomes for girls and young women.
Brown Girl Woke
Brown Girl Woke, a feminist group from Samoa, is on a mission to transform young minds and provide the new generation with the resources they need to become confident and independent thought-leaders. They aim to empower young women through mentorship programmes on health, empowerment and education. In their collaboration with schools though their community after school programmes the group has recognised that girls need education and support managing menstruation in order to continue their education. The group aims to run training to teach young women and their communities to produce sustainable reusable sanitary products.
Island PRIDE, a group led by young indigenous Micronesian women and girls, was established to empower Micronesian communities to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change by combining indigenous knowledge and modern adaptation strategies. Social distancing has halted events run by the group, and a lack of internet access has meant they are unable to continue meeting. They have serious concerns about women in their community who lack access to hygiene products and in addition are unable to use a large amount of water due to the island experiencing a severe drought. The group aims to provide women, especially new young mothers, with Healthy Hygiene Kits that will include products that will help boost their resilience to the threat of COVID19 as well as offer some financial relief from the purchase of products that are unaffordable for most.
Access Planet Organization
Access Planet Organization, led by young Women with disabilities, works to promote the rights, empowerment and inclusion of young Women with disabilities in Nepal. Established in September 2015, it aims to mainstream young Women with disabilities in society through technology and capacity building by promoting quality education, wellbeing and leadership capabilities. The livelihood of a large number of young Women with disabilities working in informal sectors in Kathmandu has been seriously affected by the crisis, and Government support is limited. Many of these women belong to poor families from rural parts of Nepal and their families are unable to provide them with support. Access Planet Organisation thus hopes to build the resilience of young Women with disabilities working in the informal sector.
All India Queer Association
AIQA was formed as a collective in 2019 to empower women and the LGBTQIA+ community in India. They focus on education, employment generation, and fighting discrimination against women and the LGBTQIA+ community. As a result of the crisis, queer people and women are experiencing more violence at home - the LGBTQIA+ community face homophobic violence from their parents and landlords, whilst women are overburdened with domestic labour and at risk of violence from abusive husbands, parents and roommates. The mental and physical health of both women and the LGBTQIA+ community are at risk in India. AIQA is working to provide shelter for those who are facing violence, as well as provide mental health counselling and financial support to queer students who are facing financial abuse from their families.
Atoot is a Sports for Development NGO which uses daily football, educational classes and life skills workshops to empower and educate girls in a rural Nepal village. Girls ranging from age 5 – 18 years attend their program and they engage an average of 50 girls on a daily basis. Since the lockdown began in Nepal, Atoot’s beneficiaries have been restricted to their village homes, preventing them from accessing the consistent support of Atoot, and placing them at risk of grooming to become child brides due to a lack of familial financial security. Once the Nepali government lifts the lockdown, Atoot aims to resume their daily programming, purchase necessary PPE/cleaning essentials, add an extra educational officer and purchase a used scooter to transport their staff safely to and from the village. They expect that the return of their safe spaces will reenergize their beneficiaries’ independent thinking, social development and community girl empowerment.
Druk Youth Initiative of Sexual Advocacy
Druk Youth Initative of Sexual Advocacy works with and for young people, particularly girls, young women, indigenous girls/women and trans people, to bring about a shift in societal mindsets and create a feminist society in Bhutan. The group was formed in order to stand against the patriarchy with a focus on women's and trans people’s rights, and the sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people through innovation and technology. Most importantly, Druk Youth Initiative aimed to challenge the commonly held idea that Bhutanese society is matriarchal – a notion that is merely based on the rhetoric belief that properties are passed down to girls/women. The group create awareness and sensitization programs through innovation, and are working to provide capacity building spaces and educational content in the form of podcasts, which are more accessible during the Covid-19 crisis. Alongside strengthening their network and increasing their engagement, one of the group’s main objectives is the inclusion of marginalized people (especially indigenous women and sex workers) and their experiences in their work.
Maitri Vietnam is a small womxn-led holistic art therapy space in Vietnam. Previously known as Girls in Blue Capes, their focus was on sex education, as well as promoting gender diversity and women’s empowerment between 2016-2019. Currently Maitri Vietnam is establishing a centre that provides professional therapeutic work (art therapy) and community projects both online and offline that support underserved communities including children and women survivors of domestic violence, LGBTQ youths, and veterans. Maitri Vietnam is currently working to share knowledge online and in the Vietnamese language about mental health and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are planning to host a free online summit which will share knowledge about mental health, and provide self-care skills for mental wellbeing. Mental health is strongly stigmatized in Vietnamese culture, making it even more important and urgent to discuss during this time. Using online platforms will allow many people in different regions of the country to have access to the group’s webinars and share their experiences relating to mental health.
Goreto Nepal is a community-based organization of female sex workers, working for the health and rights of sex workers in Pokhara. The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted the mobility of sex workers in Nepal, meaning their income has been compromised and they are unable to financially support their families. HIV+ sex workers are unable to afford healthcare, and access to abortion services is nearly impossible for many sex workers. Goreto Nepal aims to provide support to their community, in the form of food, personal hygiene products and medicine, thus alleviating some of the pressure that many sex workers are currently facing.
Kabataang IPnay / Young Indigenous women collective
Kabataang IPnay are a collective of indigenous young women activists from 20 indigenous communities in the Philippines who are dedicated to reaching out to other indigenous young women, and learning about their rights as women and as indigenous peoples. The collective creates spaces to talk about their different experiences with the aim of helping one another and strengthening their communities. Due to being located in geographically isolated areas, indigenous communities have limited access to correct information about Covid-19. Similarly, information on the ground and reports from indigenous communities are not disseminated. This lack of communication has exacerbated indigenous women’s exposure to different forms of violence at home, and in their communities, and made it more difficult for them to receive help. Kabataang IPnay aim to provide and support 10 Indigenous young women and their communities with a communication pack. These communication packs will enable access to accurate information about Covid-19, as well as online advocacy campaigns and communication with other young indigenous women and activists.
Dhaarchidi is a group of young women who aim to understand, question and create responses to the socio-environmental challenges in their communities in the lower Himalayas. The group is coming together to use direct-education methods to unravel complex stories and experiences that women live. In the rural, mountainous region where they gather, women do more than 70% of agricultural, forest and household work, yet are marginally involved in telling their own stories or any decision making processes. The group wishes to produce creative, counter-cultural local and online expressions, in order to raise questions and build understanding about issues that are seldom talked about. Covid-19 has seen the shifting of communications online, and the reduction of public gatherings and assembly. During this time, people’s lives and livelihoods have been challenged by existing and new harmful socio-environmental processes. Dhaarchidi sees the need to create reflective practices and spaces, to extend our collective work by publishing local (her)stories, raising voices about rights and wrongs and providing artistic responses, through the perspectives of women, to the ongoing crises.
KL Queer Space
KL Queer Space enables LGBTI people in Malaysia to socialise and mobilise through fellowship and capacity-building activities. Completely self-funded, KL Queer Space has been supporting and incubating youth and female LGBTI leaders since 2016 through organising 50+ major events, showcasing 300+ performers and facilitating 50+ workshops reaching thousands of LGBTI participants. In 2019 a multi-purpose community space was opened with the hope of creating sustainable systems that develop the capacity of LGBTI youth and women to spearhead systemic change. KL Queer Space believes that through positive representation, marginalised communities in Malaysia are able to increase their understanding and access to their rights. Since the movement control order started in Malaysia on 18 March 2020, social distancing has meant income generating activities that previously paid for rent, utilities and volunteers have been greatly reduced. Fellow community members have experienced job loss, salary cuts and a decline in job opportunities meaning that now, more than ever, the community needs access to the specific support that KL Queer Space are able to provide.
Priyam is a collective of differently talented persons with a spectrum of identities emerging from the multifaceted context of Sri Lanka. It is an open and fluid platform to connect, resist, share, shape, and grow. The collective was formed in 2018 by queer and feminist activists from the North and East of Sri Lanka, to continue their work with persons with disabilities, trans* and intersex persons, women and members of the queer community. They believe that alongside experiences of oppression, exist powerful stories of resistance, some of which the Priyam Collective proudly produces. They also believe that the understanding of resistance must move beyond the traditional and dominant interpretations, and it continually evolves. The overall wellbeing of the community has been shaken once again by the responses to Covid-19 in Sri Lanka. In the context of Covid-19, the community suffers from the financial dependency that makes them more vulnerable and reliant on abusive households and relationships, fewer job opportunities during the pandemic, especially for persons with disabilities and the trans* and intersex community, increased social surveillance and pressure to conform with dominant normative practices of society. Priyam Collective is committed to supporting members of the community and documenting the experiences of oppression and resistance in the context of the global pandemic.
Rise Up seeks to empower young women, girls, people with special needs, members of the LGBTQ community and others in Papua New Guinea to realize their human rights and utilize their potential. Formed in 2017, the organization has worked with indigenous women fighting for climate and environmental justice, and with young girls. The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the woman, girls and youths of the Rise Up community. The lock down has prevented the organization from conducting fundraising activities, and the funding they do have has been diverted to raise awareness on and conducting research about Covid-19.
Similarly, girls and young women have not been able to access family planning services and there has been a rise in unwanted pregnancies during the lockdown. Rise Up is working to develop an inclusive strategic response plan for Covid-19, which will be shared with local groups and implemented. They are also planning to distribute hand sanitizer, re-usable pads, and birth control pills to the women they work with.
Sew Empower Inc
Sew Empower focuses on providing free basic life skills and financial literacy training to underprivileged women and girls living in marginalized communities in Papua New Guinea. The collective has been delivering free programs that teach young women of all backgrounds how to Sew, save and start small businesses within the poorer urban areas of Port Moresby. So far, they have trained more than 100 women in basic sewing and business awareness. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sew Empower are currently running their lessons online, however, many participants cannot afford their own mobile devices and thus cannot access online content.
Thaiconsent is a community aimed at creating knowledge about sexual rights and gender equality with empowerment programs for young feminists. It is collaborating with Sangsan Anakot Yawachon, an NGO working for human rights, gender, and social justice for the children, girls, LGBTQ youth in an ethnic minority group. During the Covid-19 pandemic they have witnessed a significant rise in anti-feminist groups on the internet. At the same time, there is limited accurate media surrounding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on marginalised communities in Thailand, with ethnic minority women and LGBTQ people in particular being placed at increased risk. This collaboration of online feminists will reach people at a grassroots level, with the goal of empowering local youth leaders and creating community awareness among women and young LGBTQ people in the indigenous stateless community.
Sisterhood Initiative works towards creating safe spaces for Muslim women in Sri Lanka to come together and share experiences, engage in curated discussions and find a sense of community amongst one another. They aim to empower Muslim women to be decision makers in their lives, by engaging in conversations that raise awareness about injustices faced by Muslim women in the island, encouraging volunteerism and building a sense of community. This space has enabled networking and solidarity between Muslim and non-Muslim group members and created a knowledge sharing platform by facilitating discussion on relevant topics by resource persons.
Dalit Women Fight
Dalit Women Fight is a community-led digital project to amplify the voices of Dalit women for justice. We cultivate Dalit women activists, who are the leaders of a movement for Dalit self-respect and dignity. The groups’ work spans four major areas: survivor support, grassroots activism, leadership development and international advocacy. Dalit Women Fight’s aim is to build a critical mass movement led by Dalit Women Leaders; working to create community-based movements that have specific frameworks in place to effectively challenge, tackle, and solve caste-based violence and discrimination, and the culture of impunity.
Chitral Women Sports Club
Chitral Women Sports Club from Pakistan was established in 2018 with the aim to provide a safe environment to young Chitrali girls to engage in sports and to thus empower these young girls. It was started initially to encourage physical health among girls in Chitral which never existed before but the group later realised that sports could also be a tool to enhance one’s mental health. The group has organised football and volleyball camps and tournaments.
Nuanua O Le Alofa Women’s Group
Nuanua O Le Alofa Women’s Group in Samoa advocates to ensure access to essential services for women and girls and provides capacity building programs to enhance the human rights of women and girls with disabilities in all aspects of life. The group engages in dialogues at all levels concerning women with disabilities and their rights in Samoa.
Happy Hands Nepal
We're a social enterprise working towards the upliftment of the Nepalese Deaf Community and now looking to empower the whole disabled Community in Nepal.
Wahana Keluarga Cerebral Palsy Youth (WKCP Youth)
Our organitation houses parents who have children with disabilities cerebral palsy, and youth with cerebral palsy. Our activities include support and strengthen to develop independence We also advocate to the government for access to education, health, accessible infrastructure, and involvement in the policy making process at the local government .
FKM BKA YWU
FKM BKA YWU is a women's group organisation engaged in advocating for the rights of marginalised women: women with disabilities, indiginous women, women victims of violence and conflict, young women and working women. The group works in Aceh Province, the end of northern Sumatra Island, the province with the sixth poverty ranking out of 34 provinces in Indonesia and the highest in Sumatra. Poverty in this area has been caused by 30 years of civil war conflict and is exacerbated by frequent disasters, causing women to be the biggest and most vulnerable affected group. FKM BKA YWU focuses on SDGS and UNCRPD in advocating for the people in Aceh.
Kranti Community Foundation
Kranti empowers daughters of sex workers from Mumbai's red light areas to become agents of social change. The group does this through a safe home for the girls, psychological therapy, wellbeing practices, mainstream education, leadership training and global exposure. In the past 5 years, Kranti's girls have become the first girls from India's red-light area to study abroad, received UN awards for their social justice work, given 25+ TEDx talks around the world, and performed their own play in front of nearly one million audience members in India, the US, and 10 countries in Europe.
Roshni Football Group
In the urban slum community of Rajabazar in the city of Kolkata, girls are subject to gender-based discrimination and violence is widespread and normalised. Girls are excluded from decision making in their own homes and in the community, have low self worth and remain trapped in the cycle of gender discrimination. Roshni began its journey as a youth group formed by young girls in the community with the goal of empowering and securing the rights of adolescent girls and women. In the Roshni Football Group girls are defying norms, by playing a sport, wearing a sports uniform, traveling to the football ground, and most importantly having fun and living life the way they want it to be.
rainboW-o-Men is an informal young women-led group that works towards smashing the patriarchy in Bhutan’s society, starting with small things that are usually not even viewed as issues such as body image. The group promotes positive body image by fighting against body shaming and fat shaming. rainboW-o-Men builds awareness of the importance of consent and other SRHR issues such as safe abortion rights and the right to bodily autonomy.
Revolutionary Existence for Human Development (RED)
Revolutionary Existence for Human Development (RED) was formed in 2018 by Chandra Deveranarayana who aimed to work against all kinds of repression, oppression, exploitation and sexual harassment of women workers, especially widows, single mothers and migrant women workers. During the peak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, RED provided food relief and legal aid to workers who had become destitute having lost their jobs due to the pandemic. RED is a membership organisation now consisting of around 200 members and is currently focused on lobbying for a social security system for private sector workers in the country.
Walu Urban Womens Association
This organisation was formed due to high rate of abortion and teenage pregnancy amoung women with disabilities who were vulnerable and subject of abuse. The organisation does awareness around gender base violence,leadership training,laws and policies around consumption of illicit drugs. During our work in the community we come to know that most woman are being subject to abuse and have no way to seek help because the legal system in Papua New Guinea.
Sarswati Nagarik Dabab Samuha
The objective of building this group is to unite adolescent girls to build the society together/ supporting in accessing public services delivered by the state, province, and local levels, and holding the authorities accountable/ improving Dalit community’s access to justice in the light of multiple caste, and gender-based violence, and human rights violation.
Helping marginalized communities like the Dalits to overcome barriers to access relief packages during the COVID-19 pandemic/ monitoring the state of quarantine facilities.