In 2013, SIPS funded Claire Naylor and Claire Charamnac $13,000 to fund their nonprofit organization, Women LEAD. Women LEAD is a youth-driven and youth-led organization that aims to empower young women in Nepal. Today, Women LEAD has more than 400 young women leaders. Since their initial funding by SIPS, Claire and Claire have since expanded their organization and gained several partners in both the United States and Nepal.
Today, Women LEAD aims to contribute to their vision of Nepal: a Nepal where women and girls speak with amplified voices; families and schools support and applaud girls’ accomplishments; and institutions prioritize the professional development of women.
Women LEAD was an idea born out of a dorm room during Claire Naylor and Claire Charamnac’s junior year at Georgetown. Their experiences witnessing discrimination against women in their home countries, Nepal and Singapore, shaped their common commitment to women’s empowerment.
Claire Naylor grew up in a rural Nepali village where she witnessed firsthand the overwhelming gender inequality in Nepal. Claire Charamnac grew up in Singapore and interned at women’s rights NGOs there throughout university. In 2010, she went to Nepal to conduct research on the role of women in post-conflict Nepal.
As young leaders, Claire and Claire understand the importance of empowering girls with the same opportunities as those given to boys. They started Women LEAD because they identified the need for professional and leadership development in Kathmandu.
They came to Nepal in the summer of 2010 and ran a two-week leadership development course for 28 girls. It was successful because the program had a far bigger impact than expected—they were so enthusiastic about Women LEAD that they wanted to invite their sisters and friends to join. By the end of the program, Claire and Claire knew that they did not want to leave this as a one-time project. They realized their effective and unique model, one that has become much bigger than ever imagined.
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