Pashupati Kunwar

Chairperson of Samabikas Nepal

Active in Country: Nepal

DTP Alumna: 2013 Indigenous Peoples Program - Cambodia




Pashupati Kunwar is the Chairperson of Samabikas Nepal, an NGO working for the political, socioeconomic and cultural empowerment of marginalised women in Accham. She uses rights-based advocacy and lobbying to effect tangible change in local and national government policy – and to establish ‘chaupadi-free zones’ in Nepal.


Pashupati joined DTP’s 2013 Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights Advocacy and Development Program to gain more exposure to emerging trends in dealing with women’s rights and reproductive health issues, and to build practical skills for engaging with duty bearers.


In many villages in Nepal, menstruating women are exiled for several days every month to cramped, squalid caves or huts because they are said to be impure – a ritual called chaupadi. Though banned by the Supreme Court ten years ago, the practice is persistent. A recent UN report found more than 95% of women subjected to chaupadi in the Accham region. Chaupadi has led to mental health disorders, disease, animal attacks, rape and death.


“Chaupadi is social discrimination against menstruating women and girls… we started a movement for ‘chaupadi free zones’ and various organisations now support us. The Government of Nepal has also been working to eliminate chaupadi. As a teenager, I myself was subjected to the huts, but I have gradually come to understand the discrimination they embody and challenge chaupadi culture in my family and society”



Profile was part of 2015 DTP's 25th Anniversary Exhibition