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FEATURE STORY March 31, 2021

Breaking Barriers


Sabrina Dangol/World Bank Nepal

Samaira Shrestha, Activist

Born and raised in Kathmandu, Samaira Shrestha, 21, is a student of social work at Kadambari Memorial College. Growing up, she was an active child, taking part in various extracurriculars such as dancing, singing, and sport. She, however, was subject to bullying by her schoolmates and at times even teachers for being trans. Her family was her support system throughout her transition and were open to knowing and understanding her as a transwoman. 

When the pandemic hit together with the lockdowns, Samaira became a part of the youth-led social movement, ‘Enough is Enough Nepal’, demanding better PCR testing and quarantine facilities along with a 14-point demand for a better COVID response from the authorities. She spent ten days without food and water with a group of other protestors. This brought about a profound shift in her, she says, as she had never considered her role as an individual to be powerful in bringing attention to a cause. 

Samaira feels that sexual orientation and gender identity are little understood in society and hopes to continue with her activism about the LGBTQI community in Nepal. She is currently working on Mandala-themed color books about the LGBTQI community for children with the help of two doctors.

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This story is one of 23 stories spotlighting women from Nepal who are breaking the mold through their stories of resilience, hope, and grit amid the COVID19 pandemic. Read all the stories here.