By Phuntsok Yangchen
Ms Kamla Vhasin speaks at the opening session of TWA's training for trainers program on Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women, Aug. 4, 2014/ Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, August 4: The Tibetan Women's Association today began a five day Trainings of Trainers’ program on Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile here at Hotel Tibet.
Penpa Tsering, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament presided over the inaugural session of the training that will conclude on August 7.
55 participants including six men from various parts of India are attending the training.
Speaker Penpa Tsering said, “Even though we do not have too much discrimination against women compared to some of societies that we know about there is still a great need for promotion and empowerment of Tibetan women in various fields.”
He further raised the recent cases of child molestation in Tibetan schools saying the accused must be punished. “School authorities and the general public have to be very careful in avoiding such incidents in the first place. If such thing happens we have to make sure these people are punished in accordance with the law.”
Key speakers at the training includes Ms Kamla Vhasin, Feminist Activist; Dhardon Sharling, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile; Tsering Wangchuk, Special Consultant of Tibetan Cabinet; Lobsang Yeshi, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile; Tenzin Tseyang, Women’s Empowerment Desk of Tibetan government in exile; Ms Jasmeen Patheja, Activist and Artist and Karma D Namgyal Khortsa, Advocate.
Tibetan Prime Minister Dr Lobsang Sangay will take a session on ‘Gender Empowerment and Significance of Legal Protection of Women and Children in Exile’ tomorrow.
Tibetan Women’s Association believes that a program such as this one will remove the stigma, skepticism surrounding the need for any programs on women, gender and legal empowerment. TWA also hopes to produce certified trainers in the field of legal empowerment and also ensure the sustainability of legal empowerment workshops.
"The training will cover vital areas such as-the practical aspects of understanding gender, patriarchy, gender socialization, tackling dilemmas and stereotypes, breaking the silence and the cycle, strategic communication-good practices and innovative tools, combating gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence, step by step guide to unapologetic walking, collectively defining sexual violence via mind mapping, building and sharing testimonies amongst group, evidence wall and insight generation, taking safe community pledge, and action for equality, empowerment and development," said TWA in a statement.
One of the trainers, Kamla Bhasin, said that human being’s soul is neither male nor female. “Human values are neither masculine nor feminine, there are human values and that is how we want our children to grow up, not as boy and girl, but as a human beings with equal opportunities.”
TWA also launched a legal handbook on Indian Laws and Acts Protecting Women and Children in India
and a research report on Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile, India.
The participants of the training yesterday had a special audience with Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee and had a discussion on ‘Gender Identities-It’s all in the Mind’ from a book authored by the young Buddhist leader, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from Inside Out.
Dukthen Kyi, a Tibetan participating in the training, hopes that the participants trained here will take the knowledge and experience from this training to their respective places of residence. “I consider this training on Legal Empowerment of Tibetan women very important. Whenever a woman faces any problem, she gets emotional and does not react because she doesn’t know her legal rights. This training will not only help the individuals that have attended this training but also those they train later.”