Janmakanya Khatri, who was elected the vice-chair of Jumla’s Sinja Rural Municipality in 2017, is one of many locally-elected officials who has not had any formal education.
“Girls were not sent to school when I was a child,” says Khatri, who travels across her village to spread awareness about the importance of educating women. “I have always felt that I would be respected more had I been able to read and write.”
Sinja is among eight rural municipalities in Jumla. Along with Khatri, three other deputy chairs in the Kankasundari, Guthichaur and Patrasi deputy chairs have not received any formal education.
Khatri says her inability to read and write has severely hampered her ability to do her job. “There have been many laws and policies made for the local level, but to me, those words on paper might as well be a foreign language,” she adds.
What worries her most is making decisions and signing documents based on second-hand information, as others dictate important documents and directives. Khatri is constantly plagued by worry over whether she has made sound decisions.
Khatri is adamant that educated women from Nepal’s rural communities be given the opportunity to run for political leadership in May.
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