Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Hatti Hatti: Fighting for sustainable gender equality in Nepal

This Women’s Day, Priya Sigdel and the team at Hatti Hatti spread the message of breaking the bias and promoting a sustainable future in gender equity.

2022 Mar 07, 16:26,
The team of Hatti Hatti at their 2nd Annual Fundraiser Event. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay

Women empowerment has been thoroughly promoted over the years in the entire world. Especially in a country like Nepal, with largely conservative people and communities, women empowerment and gender equity still lags behind in many aspects. From domestic scenarios where women sadly still get restricted to the role of a mere housewives to the workforce where they have to fight for equal pay, the fight for a perfect world is still ongoing and will continue. Hatti Hatti is one such organization that has taken the fight to gender inequality, which is reflected by their president, Priya Sigdel.

Priya Sigdel, president of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay
Priya Sigdel, president of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay

Hatti Hatti is a non-profit organization that aims to empower women of marginalized communities. The organization educates and teaches women to be skillful tailors and entrepreneurs, which further helps them stand on their own two feet. Hatti Hatti also aims for maintaining environmental sustainability by reusing and recycling old fabrics to make new clothes of different designs.

When the initiative for Hatti Hatti was just a seedling almost 7 years ago, Sigdel was a youth activist for gender equality. Sigdel used to focus on areas such as menstrual hygiene and women empowerment, and got to know about the project from her friends. Immediately, she knew she wanted to be a part of the team.

“When we started Hatti Hatti, we only focused on making one type of tote bag,” she recalls. “But we had one vision - to empower women of marginalized communities. We also did not want to just empower them financially, but also as conscious individuals of the society. That is why we recycle fabrics to make new clothes rather than getting new and fresh ones in order to make them environmentally conscious.”

Priya Sigdel, president of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay
Priya Sigdel, president of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay

Since the beginning, Hatti Hatti has stuck true to their word. The organization mostly reuses old saris for their works. Presently, about 364 kilograms of the material are saved per year rather than throwing them at a landfill site. To call their work amazing or fantastic would be an understatement, considering that they now make 26 different products from saris alone.

“This is all possible because of the team,” Sigdel stresses. “We had no official blueprint or extra finances, but we had a very motivated team that knew that this cause was important and gave it their everything.”

Over the course of their journey, one can see how far the organization has come. From simply making tote bags to being able to hold their own fundraising event each year, Hatti Hatti’s stature has grown exponentially, and their future plans seem to be setting an even bigger platform, with Project Ilum which they hope will redefine women empowerment.

2nd Annual Event of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay
2nd Annual Event of Hatti Hatti. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay

“Getting a job and getting a salary alone does not and should not mean women empowerment,” says Sigdel. “Yes, those are important, but there are many aspects to women empowerment, like even making decisions in one’s own family. This is what Project Ilum aims to achieve, and for this we will not only be working with girls but even raise awareness with other community members on why this is important.”

The project will be ideal for prospective entrepreneurs who may have business ideas and want to put them into action. Hatti Hatti, through this project, will be aiding such business ideas and initiatives for a year through skill training and also funding. This would help them go from level zero to a far more advanced level, and allow them to live a new life independently.

Hatti Hatti supports all kinds of businesses run by women entrepreneurs. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay
Hatti Hatti supports all kinds of businesses run by women entrepreneurs. Photo by: Binaya Rajopadhyay

“Women empowerment in not choosing from the options given,” she stresses. “Women empowerment is choosing from the options one creates for themselves. This is the mission statement of Project Ilum, and it is also in accordance to the theme of this year’s Women’s Day - ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’.

“Most people get thrown off by the word ‘sustainability’. They think it makes the idea or the plan too complex and far-fetched. But it’s the exact opposite! Sustainability is, in reality, quite easy to achieve. To achieve sustainability in the future, you just need to be responsible for your actions today and you need to be aggressive for this cause. This is exactly what Hatti Hatti has been working for.”

With Women’s Day around the corner, the entire team of Hatti Hatti has been urging everyone to ‘break the bias’. In other words, everyone should stop any and all traditions that have been considered normal but are an obstruction to achieving a gender equal world.

Speaking on this, Sigdel also shared her message for Women’s Day, “To all the girls and women out there, I just want to say that you all are doing an absolutely fantastic job! You don’t need to be listening to a podcast or watching a talk show to get inspiration; you will get inspiration in your own ways. We have this idea that we must keep others needs ahead of our own. But I say as individuals, you have the right to be happy. So, first, prioritize your own happiness and then focus on others. So, I want all girls to be happy this Women’s Day for everything they’ve done, and continue the fantastic job they have always been doing.”


Hatti Hatti Women empowerment WOMENS DAY break the bias Priya Sigdel
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