I am Khemraj from Nawalparasi. I am a facilitator for the project ‘Change Starts at Home’.
The group meets every week and listens to the radio program “Samajhdari” (Mutual Understanding). After listening to the radio program, the group discusses various issues raised during the radio program. During the discussion, we also talk about different changes in our behaviour that we need to practice at home and the group is given some activities to do at home with their wife and family members.
The radio program and the discussion is mainly focused on building a strong and healthy relationship between a husband and a wife. It also aims to create a good environment at home, while bringing positive changes in the community.
Out of the 10 members, I have seen positive changes in at least 6-7…. members have reduced their alcohol drinking habits, some are coming home earlier than they used to in the past and most of them are helping their wife at home with the housework. These changes have come after listening to the radio program and participating in the discussion during which I also share my life experiences with them to make it easier for them to relate to.
Traditional gender values and norms have been going on for thousands of years and cannot be changed drastically over a short period of time. However, there has been some positive influences on the members due to the radio program and the weekly discussion. For example, these days the members have been able to see their wives as equal to them. They now think that women are just like them, and see that they have their own opinions, feelings, emotions and desires that need to be respected and acknowledged.
During one of the sessions, I asked them if they ever thought or knew that their wives could have pleasure from their sexual relationship. All of the participants told me that they never thought about it. I asked them to talk to their wives about it. They came back and told me that it was eye-opening for them and they realized that their wives too have desires and feelings just like them!
I myself have found many changes in my way of thinking after participating in the Change project. I no longer think that women should be kept inside the house, they should have the same freedom as men do. They should be able to get out of the house as they like. They are not only limited to cooking and cleaning the house, rather they are capable of achieving many things just like men are entitled to. They should no longer be limited to getting married and having kids only. They should have their own choice and freedom.