Power incarnate

She believes that women have immense power, and that sorrow gets converted into power in a woman. And she has put this belief into concrete action. After the death of her husband, social worker Lily Thapa started working for the rights of of single women through Women for human Rights Single Women Group (WHR), and in the 13 years since its establishment, the organisation has been successful in highlighting the invisible predicaments of widows and empowering them to be self-reliant.

“I wanted to bring them into mainstream and show them as a resource in development,” said Thapa, who had a vision to eradicate society’s negative attitude towards widows and the ill practices they were being made to follow.

Thanks to her efforts the “issue of single women has become well known and has even been incorporated in the government policy”.

Besides the support of other single women, Thapa attributes the Shakti Award she received in Celebrating Womanhood Navadevi Awards in 2003 as a major encouragement.

“As I worship Goddess Bhagwati, this award is very close to my heart. Many single women came in contact with our organisation after the media coverage I got. In a way, my story became an example for them to move ahead in life,” Thapa shared.

Inspired by the award, she even performed a Shakti ballet in different districts addressing the rights of single women like the ‘Red colour movement’.