Aawaaj is a non-governmental and non-profit social organization established in 1999 by the joint initiatives of professionals with strong hope to demonstrate capacity against violence and discrimination of children and women in Midwestern region, Nepal. Lack of awareness and ignorance about issues of violence, sexual abuse and neglect, were highly prevalent in the Midwestern region, Nepal when Mrs. Irada Gautam initiated “Aawaaj." It is the Nepali word for “Voice”; indeed being the voice of those whose voices was often unheard. Incidents were too often unheard/hidden due to fear of stigma, prestige and safety. Sexual abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and domestic violence and conflict based violence against children and women are quite interlinked, and sometime exist together. Patriarchy, poverty, unemployment, low literacy, gender inequity, insecurity, lack of awareness about rights and not fulfilling responsibilities are the root causes of violence. There are number of organizations working at the national level, however there is a big gap in the program strategy of donors, government, I/NGOs to work with boys and men against violence on women and children. Aawaaj is working with boys and men along with girls and women to prepare better manhood and socialized against such wrong behavior as problems of violence that mostly comes from boys and men at large. It focused on three important aspects of human rights “Safe, Strong and Free.” Everyone has these rights and they are indispensable for human life. The basic and the most effective tricky ways of protecting rights are “Say No”; “Go Away” and “Talk to someone”. CRC and CEDAW are the guiding principles of Aawaaj for the policies, practices and programs related to fight against the Violence. Aawaaj is the voices of those women and children who are living with violence, vulnerability and at risk, and who have no access in social and legal justice .We believe that a violence free world for children and women is possible if all of us speak out, act on against attitude, behaviors and practices that don't respect children and women. A family's safety and happiness lies in non - violence treatment, care and support towards children and women. Based on our experiences; Violence occurs across societies regardless of class, caste, religion, education and geography. It not only affects the woman ad girl but the entire family - especially children.

Aawaaj has been pioneer to establish community care and support mechanisms against violence, sexual abuse, exploitation and neglect towards women and girls in Midwest Nepal. Our mission is to eradicate all sorts of sexual, domestic and conflict based violence through the process of empowerment. We attempt to make a difference in the lives of the women and children who deserve equal rights as any one of us. Aawaaj used the concept of resilience to open new paths for the prevention and response against violence and discrimination. Girls and women when faced devastating trauma and adversity how they are able to develop their inner capacity in a harmonious and positive way? This question is at the starting point of work. Aawaaj is facilitating Rural Communities to Combat the Violence and Discrimination of Children and Women. Since1999, Aawaaj has been respond to the systematic violence toward women and children in rural Nepal. Violence against women and girls–including trafficking, domestic violence, dowry-related violence, rape, and sexual violence–remains a serious problem in the country, but many women and children choose not to report incidents.

Aawaaj has been developing specific activities. For Instance;

  • Awareness rising programs on Child Sex Abuse, domestic violence, Discrimination and exploitation, Child rights and Women rights;Advocacy and Campaigns.
  • Community care and support system within the community, including children, youths, parents, teachers, professionals, that protects women and children from abuse and aids the recovery and the reintegration of the women and children in their own community without being stigmatized.
  • Facilitate an environment of coordination and cooperation among Community members, all existing local groups and organizations, Government, NGOs, to deal with the issue and to mainstream the issue at Local, District level and National levels;
  • Community support groups (including men, women and children) are created to raise awareness on sexual abuse and violence, to increase reporting and provide emotional support to women / girls.

The work of the Community support group creates a spill-over effect and provided grass-root commitment and mobilization. Aawaaj has been continuously empowering the community’s capacity to find community based solutions and manage violence against children and women in Midwest Nepal. Despite all adversities children and women didn't lose hopes and started fighting with the abuse, violence, discrimination and exploitation. Now more than 5000 change makers are actively involved in helping out others affected from violence and is working at community.