Look for application opening
Your ideas are vehicles for social justice and we are here to help you publish them. When you write and share your ideas through the right venues, they can reach out to many actors, ranging from students, policy makers, to world-class professors. Your ideas can initiate a debate, espouse solidarity among change agents, and spark social change. Come join hands with us in the mission of fighting social injustice with the help of writing. Apply by 5 March.
On Jun 11, 2022 Rabina Luitel shares her writing
journey with Dalit Reader’s Writing for Social Justice (WSJ) workshop. Please listen to her and join this campaign to raise voice for voiceless Dalit people.
To learn creative thinking, analytical writing and smart presentation skills
Writing for Social Justice Workshop is designed to equip current and aspiring social activists and change agents who could benefit from communicative skills to fight social injustices, such as caste-, gender-, colour-based or any form of discrimination. These skills include creative thinking, analytical writing and smart presentation as a means to effect social change. Creative thinking is a smart skill that enables you to reflect, formulate, and present ideas imaginatively and in aesthetically impactful ways. Analytical thinking and writing enable to research and process new information and data, as well as to organize and present your ideas well. Smart presentation skills enable you to dialogue, persuade, and influence the change agents with your idea.
Sushma Baraili says, “In a short time, we were able to develop critical understanding on Dalit issues and learned to generate new contents to improve our writing.” She has since then produced a series of features and opinion pieces. She recalls how she couldn’t even articulate her own personal grievances as a Dalit woman, and often struggled to link them to the larger context of social injustice.
“We need to cover Dalit issues with proper analysis and go beyond the specifics and the usual conversation of untouchability and discrimination,” says Sushma, explaining how the course has helped her to think differently as a writer…
For joining the fight for social justice in Nepal
Any hierarchical system is a denial of equality and social justice. Nepal retains several forms of hierarchical social systems, key ones being caste and patriarchy. They are embedded into shaping the “rules of the game” of influential state and social organizations and institutions. Therefore, the organizations and institutions are discriminatory and exclusionary in systematic but not always in obvious ways due to intrinsic interplay of formal and informal laws. They promote decision-making that is backed by unequal access, forms of patronage and coercion and mediated by personal, political and institutional loyalties. The implications surpass the bound of sufferings by victims, usually Dalit and women, to failures of political reform and development efforts. Finally, the caste and patriarchy as a structure encompass both Dalit and non-Dalit men and women and implicate all lives in the structure.
With the help of successful experts
The confidence in this approach comes from the Dalit Reader’s pilot batches of the “Writing for Social Justice Workshop” conducted in both Nepali and English languages. These pilot demonstrated convincingly the effectiveness of facilitated and mentor-led workshops over a sustained period to build confidence and to improve a set of creative thinking, analytical writing, and smart presentation skills. This led to the publication of social and political views in leading national dailies by Dalit and non-Dalit women and men who otherwise lacked access and experience. The theory of change behind these initiatives is that writing on the issues of social justice based on reflection and dialogue, aided by discussion and peer feedback among the participants, gives support and space for individuals to speak for their liberation.
Shyam Sharma says, “We choose to put our efforts and achievements of knowledge work to particular purposes.”“Whether that is personal and rather selfish or socially driven and cause-based matters.” He adds that we don’t learn to learn, calling that idea “the knowledge politics of denying the politics of knowledge.” We must counter the politics of depoliticizing knowledge production, as much as that of depoliticized hegemonic history, that has written Dalit and other communities off the margins,” adds Shyam.
Shyam Sharma, a scholar of Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook campus of the State University of New York, joined the Writing for Social Justice initiative when Dalit Reader organized an op-ed writing course in 2018. As one of the three facilitators, along with program organizer Subhash Nepali and another facilitator Tom Robertson, Shyam provided some support in the design of the course and led some of the workshop sessions that focused on writing skills.
And experienced facilitators/mentors
Nepalis and Americans with years of experience both teaching writing and publishing Op-Eds and research articles will facilitate the workshop. We will also invite other experts of writing and communication (including from US universities), as well as experienced activists on the subject matters on the ground, as needed; we have great interest and pledge of support from experts in both areas. Each participant will be assigned a mentor from a pool of sub-editors and writers of Nepal’s English national dailies to provide them in-depth needs-based support in brainstorming/generating ideas, structuring them into correct form, and developing them into commentaries. The facilitators are as follows:
For structured workshops and one-on-one support
The “Writing for Social Justice Workshop” is an intensive graduate-level course which is conducted for 2.5 hours every Sunday for twelve weeks. The facilitators serve as guides or mentors for the reading, writing, and presentation skills. In every workshop, the participants enter into reflection and dialogues based on the assigned readings and presentation. They practice drafting, revision, and editing skills with a focus on the content and social objectives of their writing, which we have found is what truly motivates them. Peer review partners, collaborative writing through the use of cloud documents, and goal-driven feedback from instructors/mentors are some of the features of the course.
Shiva Hari Gyawali, who collaborated with Subhash Nepali to generate the idea and design the syllabus for the ‘Writing for the Social Justice Workshop” says, “We realised that writings don’t come on their own especially focused on Dalit issus. We needed a pool of writers, and that gave us an idea to initiate an action research project, and we believe this has become a unique model.”
“I met Subhash Nepali in Jagaran Media Center, where I worked on Dalits’ human rights issues, and heard him expressing worries about insignificant space that Dalit voice had in the national dailies,” explains how they got the idea, “I offered him to collaborate on the Op-Eds, which we published jointly in a few weeks and got wider recognition and reception.” He elaborates, “We immediately found the idea of initiative that would eventually emerge as Dalit Reader.”
If you meet the following eligibility requirements:
Writing for Social Justice Workshop is for participants from all backgrounds who are interested to conduct research, participate in dialogue, and write about their learning from research and dialogue for social justice. The participants who register for this seminar are individuals interested in critical appreciation and understanding of social justice, caste and patriarchy, social movements, power relations, or just curious to know more about voiceless people and development failures in Nepal. Admissions will be granted to those applicants who demonstrate commitment to the writing for social justice.
And can accomplish the following requirements:
Here are the required materials for application:
Fees and Financial Support
Our facilitators contribute voluntarily, but DR charges a fee of NPR. 20,000, including 50% security deposit, which is returned upon successful completion of the workshop; the rest will support logistics and support DR’s social justice initiatives.
Accepted applicants will have to admit within a week, submitting a security deposit of NPR. 20,000 in the Dalit Reader’s bank account set up for “Writing for Social Justice Workshop.” The 50% of the security will be refunded to those who complete the workshopclass successfully.
DR provides scholarship for competent and deserving candidates. Please apply for scholarships if you need financial assistance. The participants receiving DR scholarship will have to deposit NPR 10,000 as a security deposit, which will be refunded upon successful completion of the workshop.
Scholarship funds come from sponsorship by DR friends. Please visit this site if you want to sponsor one or more participants.
Riban Mangrati says, “I wanted to start serious writing for a cause because until then I hadn’t considered writing for social change.” But he was still struggling to get published as he was unable to produce the kind of writing that would interest the editors.
Riban explains that he didn’t have much experience growing up in a mainstream Dalit society. He went to school where he didn’t have Dalit friends. He started his career in a corporate office, and went on to start his own business, and all this time he had no connection with his own Dalit society. It was only when he joined an NGO project that he started working with the Dalit community, and he heard their stories of exclusion, human rights violations and many other forms of discrimination…
The workshop will be organized in zoom or virtually; and hence, the participants from outside the Kathmandu vallye are strongly encouraged to apply.