Aum Karma Choden is 45 years old and lives at Ura Village in Bumthang. She studied until fourth grade, but had to leave her studies to help her mother and sister at home while her three brothers continued their education. One of her brothers is a monk. Karma is married and has three children.
Being a housewife, Karma was a shy and reserved person and she hardly participated in community meetings.
In 2013, Karma attended one of the advocacy programs conducted by Ura READ Center. “I was really intrigued by the subject matter [women representation] and its importance,” says Karma. The program was a part of READ Bhutan’s project - Women Represent: Boosting Women’s Participation in the Public Sphere.
And since then she took part in all the activities and workshops conducted by Ura READ Center. “Due to the hectic schedule, it is difficult for women to attend such programs,” Karma admits. “But the Library [Ura READ Center] conducted most of the programs in the evening. That was good for us.”
Aum Karma Choden feels that of all the programs she attended, listening program and women’s discussion forum were highly effective.
Today, she is more confident with her life and developed a good camaraderie with her fellow community members. She is a member of Ura Women’s Group. She has understood the importance of women’s participation in the decision-making.
And that’s not all – Aum Karma surprised many in her community by getting elected as the Chairperson of Ura READ Center’s Library Management Committee. This is the first time a woman has ever held that position in all our READ communities. Aum Karma has shown the way forward and we hope more women would join her in all the communities.
Congratulations Aum Karma and her family for breaking the barriers. This is a very good first step made, For READ Bhutan, certainly this is a wonderful evidence of yet another successful program.