PRASHANSHA KC, 17
Prashansha KC is a Nepali social activist and filmmaker who loves to write poems and make videos. She has always believed that we are responsible for making our society better. At 15, KC started her activism by conducting research in her community about child marriage which persists in various parts of Nepal. She spoke with people from all age groups and acquired an in-depth understanding of this social problem and its high occurences. At 16 and 17, KC conducted various awareness campaigns including the “Door to Door” program, and a radio program where she spread awareness of child marriage among students, parents, and elderly people. This program highlighted the problems surrounding child marriage and helped listeners be self-aware by providing them with proper information about adolescent development, reproductive health, and rules and regulation against child marriage.
KC also teaches self-defense techniques to girls to protect themselves against sexual abuse. She formed local representatives and youth clubs who work towards providing safe spaces for victims and resources to connect them to legal authorities to investigate abuse. KC has made documentaries related to child marriage to educate, inspire, and encourage viewers to take part in ending child marriage. Her work raises the questions in an oblivious society. KC hopes it will be life-changing to some, however small. KC was named as the 2018 Glocal Teen Hero for her advocacy as a symbol of hope in Nepal.
KC hopes to harness the momentum of her successful programs and expand them to reach more children, educate more people, and empower more women to make global change. KC plans to pursue her bachelors degree in computer science after graduating high school.
We Won Aunt! Our Dignity Won!
by Prashansha Kc
"Help! help!" She shouted as a monstrous geezer tore her clothes into pieces. With fretting feet, sweating palms, and empty lungs, I pushed to run faster, tearing the glide of air apart. Woefully, I failed to reach on time. My feet failed to reach the other end of the plot.
''Faster girl! Please save me!" I could hear a drifting panic in the atmosphere. At last, I reached her. She lay down with torn clothes, bruises on her arms and legs, blood on her thighs, split lips, and aggression in her black eyes. She miserably looked at me and uttered, “I was raped. My dignity is raped…” With an aching heart, I jerked myself out of the bed. It was just another dream.
When I was six years old, my fourteen-year-old aunt was a victim of bride kidnapping. One day, when she was returning from school alone, some strangers from the neighboring village, led by a huge man who had his eyes on her body for months, abducted her. Practiced as a culture in the midwestern part of Nepal, all the villagers and Panchayat decided the culprit should marry my aunt because he had already touched her and no other guy in the future would marry her. Soon she got married to the monster who was not only nine years older than her, but also the sinner who blew away her dreams, like a house of cards, in seconds. My aunt deserved a lot more than the marital rape and early pregnancy. I knew this was wrong. I talked with my parents, but was left unheard. I again failed to give her justice.
Ever since, I have been haunted with the unpleasant dreams of this incident. Time passed. Numerous seasons changed. I grew older every year, cutting more and more cakes, blowing more and more candles. Things changed, but I could not erase that incident from my heart. I could not ignore the fact that there are still teenage girls out there who are victims of bride kidnapping. It was hard to have sound sleep with a mind filled of misery that those girls had to go through marital rape, early pregnancy, domestic violence, and much more.
Ultimately, I decided to take action. I made myself be the change rather than waiting for the change. In September of 2017 and October of 2018, I executed some awareness campaigns in my hometown, Rukum. I was overwhelmed when my small initiation was successful enough to spread awareness among 2,400 people in just couple of years. We walked from door to door, hand in hand, and we were glad to feel the smiles of the locals wanting to be a part of this process. This time I won because I finally provided sound to my unheard voice. Seeing the girls become more confident and courageous was the unparalleled happiness of my entire journey.
During this process I not only discovered the solutions for our problems, but also discovered myself. A girl who never left her room before can now stand in front of hundreds of people and make them believe why child marriage is not a culture, but a sin. As I conducted one awareness campaign after another, I became more accountable to leadership, hard work, and sincerity. I am glad that at the age of 17, I proved age is just a number. Change in society needs a change in mindset, and I am so content to have started this modification. Nowadays, the only dream that I visualize is the dream where I say to my aunt, “This time, we won, aunt! Our dignity won!”