Who is Friends of ADWAN Nepal?


The idea for the Association for Dalit Women’s Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) was first born when Bishnu Maya Pariyar, a Dalit woman from the Gorkha District of Nepal, began organizing Women’s Groups to challenge the caste system and empower women of all backgrounds. Trusting the wisdom of women, regardless of caste, to define what works best in their village, Bishnu applied this grassroots approach in formally establishing ADWAN in 1998 as a registered nonprofit in Kathmandu. Through the implementation of livelihood programs, human rights workshops, and practices designed to promote the dignity of all human beings, ADWAN has been engaged in the important work of overcoming the barriers of caste and gender discrimination among all marginalized women in Nepal for the past twenty years.


In 2015, Bishnu founded Friends of ADWAN Nepal (FAN), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit, to serve as the fundraising arm of ADWAN in the United States. Based in Boston, FAN works in concert with ADWAN to raise funds for its programs and to promote its vision of human dignity and the empowerment of low-caste and marginalized women. Together, FAN and ADWAN serve more than 1,500 women as part of 67 Women’s Groups in seven districts in the Central and Western regions of Nepal. In addition, FAN and ADWAN support numerous children affiliated with the Women’s Groups through sponsorship programs and educational opportunities.


Our Vision:


We believe in a world where Dalit (so-called “untouchable”) women and children in Nepal live with dignity, equality, and respect. To achieve this vision, Dalit and other marginalized women work in solidarity to end caste- and gender-based discrimination and empower whole communities.


Our Mission:


Friends of ADWAN Nepal is a US-based nonprofit organization that promotes awareness about Dalit women and children in rural Nepal. We raise funds and work in partnership with ADWAN, a grassroots NGO in Nepal, to implement high-impact programs that break the cycle of discrimination.


Our Approach:


Friends of ADWAN Nepal champions a grassroots approach to development. In our view, eradicating caste- and gender-based oppression is an integral part of building a just and flourishing society. When Dalit women gain a voice and socioeconomic standing, they transform their communities for the better.

Founder Bishnu Maya Pariyar

ADWAN's Executive Director Kamal Babu Pariyar

Annual Meeting of ADWAN and Women's Group leaders

The ADWAN Team