Nepal is an extremely patriarchal culture. Domestic abuse in Nepal is at an epidemic rate. Some estimates report as many as 80% of women and children face domestic abuse on a daily basis. Suicide is the leading cause of death among women of childbearing age in Nepal, and the suicide rate among that group of women continues to grow annually.
The sex trafficking industry is also a rapidly growing problem in Nepal. Thousands of Nepali girls are victims of human trafficking. Any of these young victims who are lucky to escape have nowhere else to go.
More than 1,000 people each day leave Nepal for the promise of employment in the Gulf region. Female workers who left Nepal for employment, typically to the Gulf region, are not welcomed back by society and are no longer able to work in Nepal.
However, often, these women are also skilled farmers. They can support themselves and feed their children if they have a little land and shelter. Otherwise, they will likely remain trapped under the oppression of patriarchy.
My Name is Sunita. The story of Her Farm is my story, but it is also the story of many Nepali women.
I dreamed of this project for years. I don't want any woman to face the heartbreak that my children and I did. Life is hard for women in Nepal. Women need a safe place to live where they can support their children.
The Mountain Fund acquired 30 acres of beautiful, fertile, sustainable farm land to provide to the abused and outcast women and children of Nepal, so they can live in a safe home and become self-sufficient. This wonderful place is called Her Farm.
Her Farm is 100% woman-operated. Here, not only do the women tend to the typical farming chores, they are also training and becoming employed in the fields of digital and visual arts. Her Farm operates a small film and photography studio, an FM radio studio, and an event photography business. These projects are all based on-site in the Community / Emergency Center at Her Farm.
The earthquake-resistant Emergency Center was initially constructed in response to the devastating earthquakes in 2015, to provide a safe shelter to the 300+ residents of the local village of Mankhu. Its FM radio station provides crucial communications with neighboring villages during emergencies. During normal, day-to-day operations, the FM radio station and film studio allows the women of Her Farm to share their stories and music with other Nepali listeners, while also earning advertising revenue from local businesses.
The women of Her Farm are also hired for their professional-level photography and videography skills, to cover local weddings, celebrations, and other special events.
Not what you expected from a "farm"? Learn to expect more from Her Farm!
Her Farm is a project of The Global Mountain Fund, a U.S. 501(c)(3) public non-profit organization, EIN 20-2570273. The Mountain Fund, as it is more commonly called, began working in Nepal in 2005, and its efforts have been consistently focused on supporting education, healthcare, and womens' empowerment programs since the beginning. During the early years, The Mountain Fund primarily partnered with and supported existing Nepal-based NGOs, which was very successful, but it was also very ordinary. In 2012, The Mountain Fund decided to break the mold, by creating its own one-of-a-kind project in Nepal, called Her Farm.
The Mountain Fund was founded by Scott MacLennan, who is currently the organization's Executive Director. Scott's wife, Sunita, originally provided the vision for Her Farm, and she currently serves as The Mountain Fund's Director of Nepal Volunteer Programs. Together, they live at Her Farm much of the time, and they invite you to be a part of the tremendous work being done here.