Feisty, funny and sad - book by 100 UK women aids Nepali women's projects

Issue date: 23 May 2013

A book authored by 100 women, giving snapshots of their lives in Britain today, is now on sale to raise funds for women's projects in Nepal.

It is published by Dr Rosa Matheson, a former lecturer in Women's History and Women Studies at UWE Bristol. Among the accounts of contemporary women's lives in the UK are those of her three daughters, who all studied at UWE.

Rosa said, “When I first visited Nepal as part of a medical mission organised by my son, it was impossible to ignore the grinding poverty, the deprivation, the abandoned children and the dreadful plight of many women.”

During this first visit in 2009 with her husband and son, both doctors, the family 'adopted' a small orphanage in Kathmandu. Since then Rosa has returned to Nepal and Kathmandu to continue the work and catch up with the children.

She continued, “Each time we return we learn something more about this beautiful country and its people. We learned that due to the poor circumstances of women, if they are widowed, many children are abandoned or 'given-up' to orphanages because the mother has no means of providing for them. We saw that if we helped the women to become more empowered and economically viable, the orphanages would not be so full and there would be fewer children sleeping in plastic bags on the streets.

“We met a young woman, Inka Trollsas, who was doing something practical, training young Nepali girls to become kayak instructors. So radical was this that the first girls were disowned by their families. I was inspired by Inka's commitment and by the young girls' determination, so I promised to help.”

This led to her 'light-bulb' moment when she asked women to record their lives for her book.

Given the opportunity to take part in the BOOK PROJECT to help less fortunate women on the other side of the world, 100 women here in Britain took to their pens or laptops to help.

Called a day in the life of 100 women in Britain the book is feisty and funny, breathtakingly honest and sometimes heartbreakingly sad.

Rosa said of the contributors to the book, “These women do all sorts of things - make jewellery, chocolate, honey; work as an accountant, nurse, teachers, hairdresser, actress, vicar; teach yoga, African drumming and how to write; are carers for their husbands, mothers or children; write books and poetry and so much more. They range in age from 18 to 95 years.

“Writing of daily routines, special events and personal experiences, they have created a very human snapshot of women's lives in Britain today in the 21st Century.”

Rosa believes that by educating and empowering Nepalese women the plight of thousands of women and children can be changed.

She said, “This is a book with a purpose – to help Nepali women help themselves - all funds raised go to support or initiate women's economic projects in Nepal. Our first project was launched with the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas last November and now the BOOK PROJECT, our registered not for profit organisation is helping the Himalayan Adventure Girls, taught by Inka, to set up and run their own business – a first in Adventure Tourism for young women in Nepal.

“We are also supporting two other projects, one with the Mountain Institute to train 150 hill-village women in farming medicinal herbs, and the other helping fund transport for a young woman Nepali doctor to enable her to reach patients high in the mountains.”

By being part of this project and spreading the word, people buying the book can be sure they are making a positive difference to the lives of many women and their children.

The book costs £9.99 and can be ordered at www.the100womenbookproject.com


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