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Her Farm Films Training women in media and visual arts Skills for jobs that lead to economic freedom

Employment opportunities in the past have been very limited for women in Nepal and what opportunities do exist follow along typical gender roles. Males learn about technology and prepare for high-skill, well-paid work while females train in stereotypical roles of farming, homemaker, secretary, tailoring, nursing or as beauticians. These jobs do not pay well and serve to reinforce the idea that women are only suited for secondary positions in society.

Her Farm Films has shunned these faulty concepts of women's capabilities and for the past six years has been training women to be photographers and filmmakers. The women come from typical farming families and the expectation was that they too would enter the workforce in stereotypical roles. But, that's not what they chose. They chose to train as highly skilled wedding and event photographers and filmmakers, careers that pay very well and are considered prestigious; doubly so for a woman. As the only all-women wedding and event photography team in Nepal, their services are in very high demand and they are turning heads and overturning gender bias everywhere they go.

Breakththroughs come as a result of shifting your commitment from the predictable future to a possible future

The predictable future for women in rural Nepal, where 80% of the population lives is hard labor, economic dependence and perhaps, and only perhaps, training for low-skill, marginal income jobs in stereotypical roles.

As one beneficiary of one of the countless “women’s programs” operating explained: “I never considered what I liked to do, I ‘chose’ this training in sewing, because it was the only option.” After a pause, she continued, “I suppose because, this is a fitting job, for girls.”

For the past 6 years, Her Farm and Her Farm Films have been preparing women to be community organizers and leaders and creating jobs for women in skilled professions such as FM radio announcer, wedding photographer and event filmmakers.

Taking it to scale

We have 6 young women employed now in these areas and earning sustainable incomes from their skills. With a full, professional photography, film studio and women's owned and operated FM radio station, a talent pool of trained women, we are now ready to take this work to scale in the larger community and offer skill training in visual arts to a much larger community. Over the past six years we've perfected our systems for training and stand poised to double the number of women working this year and the next.

The film, photo and radio studio at Her Farm

Her Farm Films has already trained several local women, in addition to our staff of six, in photography, editing and journalism skills. We are 100% confident that local women can learn and in fact master these skills and have an established track record that proves it.

Nepal, as a deeply traditional South Asian country offers much work in wedding photography, wedding videography, filming and photographing the many local festivals and events as well as producing socially relevant short films that reach women.

With nearly 65% of the population having access to the internet via mobile phones and over 4 million social network users every day, the potential to create media by, and for women, and distribute that media is huge.

Training local women from the village in photography, editing and journalism

Creative Artists

Short films by and for women. Not only are the women of Her Farm Films working in commercial photography and film, recently two of our students, both young women who live in the village made a socially relevant short film about the life of a local woman. Their first ever effort in creating such a film is quite remarkable. Proving yet again the ability of rural women to create visual art.

What's needed to scale up this program?

What is needed to take this work to scale and reach hundreds of women is a centralized training facility. The studio at Her Farm (more about Her Farm here) is too far a distance from the commercial center and with no vehicles or transportation, women simply cannot easily reach Her Farm Films studio for training. In the capital city of Kathmandu, we have land where a training facility will be accessible to all.

Visual Arts School of 21st Century Skills

Women owned and operated by Her Farm Films

We will build a studio and training facility where women can learn photography, filmmaking and how to produce podcasts, a growing market in Kathmandu as well as prepare these women to operate a photography and filmmaking business. We have an ideal location that we already own, ready to build on.

Internships

Program participants can gain practical, on the job experience by assisting in the 40 or more assignments Her Farm Films has every year to film events, photograph and film weddings. In order to attract women to this field and to satisfy their parents concerns it is necessary to offer a small internship salary while they are in training. One hundred US dollars per month ensures they will work with dedication and graduate in six months to working as part of the regular Her Farm Films, all-women team and the income earned from our current work can support these internship costs.

With comprehensive training, practical experience in the field, women will be able to obtain employment that pays well. In a country with a per capita income of less than $1000/year, the women of Her Farm Films earn between $100 and $150 US dollars per day filming and photographing. Everyone of the Her Farm Films women is earning above the countries per capita income and garnering tremendous respect.

We can double the number of women employed in 2020, we currently have more offers for work than our current staff can manage.

Human Resources. Our existing team of educated and trained young women will be the instructors. Sushila Aryal, for example is thirty years old, with 5 years direct experience on air in radio, a Master Degree in Sociology and currently is pursuing a law degree as well. Sushila, in addition to her radio experience is a skilled editor with Final Cut and Logic Pro, an excellent portrait photographer and filmmaker. Our team of six such women will manage the classroom.

From training to jobs

There are dozens of community based events, festivals, singing contests and etc. that take place in the nearby villages providing opportunity for film and still photography.

The business community in Nepal is just waking up to internet and social media advertising and the demand for quality photography of all kinds; products, scenery, adventure activities and more is on the rise daily. Likewise, these same business users are hungry for video that helps sell their programs and products.

The financial support for Her Farm and Her Farm films has thus far come from The Global Mountain Fund, a US 501c3 charitable organization founded by Scott MacLennan, who is the husband of Sunita Subedi Sharma, the founder and matriarch of Her Farm. Sunita was recently named the World Experiences Foundation's Global Citizen Award recipient and received as well a citation from the House of Representatives of the State of New Mexico. Learn more at www.MountainFund.org

Scott, with a long career in business and a photographer for the past 40+ years can assist the graduates in preparing resumes and business plans should they wish to pursue employment with other commercial photography studios or start their own business and Sunita, as a former popular actor in Nepal will help prepare them with coaching on public speaking. Scott has lived and worked in Nepal for over a decade and was awarded the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal in 2010 for his work in Nepal.

What's it take to make this all happen?

First and foremost a space to train from. We have the land, we have the Human Resources, but no central facility to train and produce from. We estimate a fully finished facility from which more women can be trained to cost between $10,000 and $15,000 US dollars. We have have the cameras, lights, microphones etc. It's a ripe and ready endeavor that will create clean, well-paid jobs and change the societal views about the capabilities of women.