Plight and Grievances of Badi women: The government should address their concerns through constitution to be promulgated by CA

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Sunita Badi (Name changed) has no property to sell. To feed her four member family she mostly begs for her earning. She clandestinely sells her body. She has four children- two sons and two daughters. They are denied admission at the local school as they are deemed unfathered.  The children also beg and help their mother in meeting their both ends.

Likewise, urmila Badi (name changed) also has similar fate to share. She lives in a hut on the fringe of community forest of Geta VDC in Kailali district. She is also engaged in world’s oldest profession- the prostitution- to feed her family. She has two daughters aged between 10- 15 years. They also beg and contribute to eke out living.  The children do not go to school as they are denied admission under various pretexts. Urmila’s husband abandoned her seven years after their marriage leaving them in lurch. Under such circumstances, she had to resort to flesh trade as the last option to feed her family.

Yet another woman from the community, sharmila Badi (name changed) of the same VDC of the district is no exception. She lives in a small hut with her two sons. She also begs for her earning but unable to meet the both ends. As a result, she embraced the prostitution to feed her family. The children do not go to school as the school authority ousted them citing several reasons. The two son works at the local hotel.

All these issues pointed out the plight and grievances of Badi women over the years. It clearly indicates the situation of these women have not improved despite government commitment to ameliorate the situation of these women. In 2008, the government was compelled to hold dialogue with them when the semi nude Badi women protested in front of the Singha Durbar making nationwide outrage.  Eight years have elapsed since the agreement was signed between then government and leaders of Badi community, there is no end to their woes.

It is worth mentioning here that there were innumerable program launched by the government and non government organizations aiming to improve the situation of Badi community with special emphasis on women over the past few years. The program has utterly failed to yield the expected result owing to shoddy implementation. Now, the country is in the process of drafting the constitution through constituent assembly. It should incorporate the concerns of Badi community with high priority.

Uma Devi Badi coordinator of the Badi community says that Badi women are forced to beg, work as a wage laborer and sex worker. She pointed out that their children are engaged in bread earning activities. As a result, they cannot go to school hindering their growth and development.  She also informed that the Badi Community had submitted their demands to the government many times but the government has kept on turning deaf ear to them. Rights activists argued that if the government keeps on turning deaf to their demands, they go for huge powerful movement.

According to historians, the Badi people have migrated from Baisahali in India and settled in mid western and far western districts of Nepal. The community used to earn its living by entertaining royal families and courtiers by dancing and singing. However, with the passage of time, their profession could not survive and some of them opted for sex trade as a last resort to sustain their livelihood. 

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