Bishnu Maya Pariyar – WOMAN of ACTION™



A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this brave woman, one born into extreme poverty, and treated as an outcast in her own society. Housing  a strong spirit, this powerhouse forged her way through education, walking four hours per day to attend and complete her secondary education, being the first girl in her community to achieve such success.

She further achieved more education in the USA, and returned home to work with her local women through an organization she founded that works to enable all women, including the social ‘outcasts’ of Nepal to be able to find self-sustainability.

This woman is a pure example that “The Impossible is Possible


Bishnu Maya Pariyar 3

Bishnu Maya Pariyar

Bishnu Maya Pariyar was born in 1975 to a poor Dalit family of nine children in a remote village in Gorkha District in Western Nepal. Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable. Dalits are a mixed population, consisting of numerous social groups from all over South Asia; they speak a variety of languages and practice a multitude of religions. There are many different names proposed for defining this group of people, including Panchamas (“fifth varna“), and Asprushya (“untouchables“).

In 2001, the proportion of Dalit population was 16.2 percent of India’s total population. The Dalit population is broadly distributed across Indian states and districts. In 2001, the state of Punjab had the highest proportion of its population as Dalit, at about 29 percent, and the state of Mizoram had the lowest at nearly zero. The government of India recognises and protects them as Scheduled Castes. The term Dalit has been interchangeably used with term Scheduled Castes, and these terms include all historically discriminated communities of India out-caste and Untouchables.

Dalit Women (We are not untouchable – End caste discrimination now)


While discrimination based on caste has been prohibited and untouchability abolished under the Constitution of India, discrimination and prejudice against Dalits in South Asia remains. Since its independence in 1947, India has implemented an affirmative policy of reservation, the scope of which was further expanded in 1974, to set aside and provide jobs and education opportunities to Dalits. By 1995, of all jobs in India, 17.2 percent of the jobs were held by Dalits, greater than their proportion in Indian population. In 1997, India democratically elected K. R. Narayanan, a Dalit, as the nation’s President. Many social organizations too have proactively promoted better conditions for Dalits through improved education, health and employment.


Dalits and similar groups are found in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Further wherever immigrants from these countries have gone caste has gone with them. As a result Dalits can also be found in the U.S., U.K, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, and the Caribbean.

In addition, the Burakumin in Japan, Cagots and Roma in Europe, Al-Akhdam in Yemen, Baekjeong in Korea and Midgan in Somalia are or were excluded from the surrounding community in much the same manner as the Dalit. In fact, a 2012 paper argued that the European Romas’ DNA matches the Dalit in India.

She grew up without access to electricity, sanitation, health care and vehicular roads.

Her family lived as subsistence farmers, where the children’s labor was essential for the family’s survival. Going to school met with many obstacles; as a Dalit girl, Bishnu was considered “untouchable” and teased and excluded by other children. She was even disparaged and humiliated for her status by teachers.

Yet even though she had to walk four hours daily, she insisted on attending high school. Despite such hardships, she became the first girl from her community to graduate and obtain the National School Leaving Certificate (SLC), the gate to higher education. One of her teachers, a Peace Corps volunteer, helped her to a small scholarship, which enabled her to study social work in Kathmandu.

As an intern, Bishnu worked with a self-help program for poor women and witnessed first hand the inability of Dalit women to access resources offered to other women. The group’s “higher caste” participants would not tolerate Dalits in their midst.

In addition, the poorest Dalit women lacked collateral to take out loans.

Bishnu instinctively understood that it would require awareness and special consideration to address the severe challenges faced by Dalit Women.


She consequently conceived her own approach to reach the most marginalized. The women’s groups she organized would deliberately include women from different castes, and actively encourage them to cooperate.

Additionally, loans were made collateral-free, so the poorest of the poor could be included.

In 1996, she started five women’s groups in her own village with $150 from a group of Americans expats. These groups are still thriving today — with Bishnu’s mother still is a member.

eva kassellBishnu and Eva Kasell met in Nepal in 1998, and the Kasell family enabled Bishnu to continue her education in the United States.

In 2003, while Bishnu was pursuing a bachelor’s degree, the two women co-founded EDWON, as a project to raise awareness in the West and to fund the work begun by Bishnu in Nepal.

Courageous, kind, loyal, enthusiastic, change agent and our hero and founder and president Bishnu Maya Pariyar announced about “Taklung Model Village” at the starting time then at last she approved the five sentences ghosana patra.

She told her history from her childhood to USA. How she reached in USA and how she got helping hands for the ADWAN’s project.

She remember her parents especially her father. She thanks her father (her idol) with huge neck and drops of tears in her eye.

At last she expressed lots of thanks to all participants, helpers, journalists, EDWON Team, Women Groups, Clubs and all. Then she announced that the program was end. Thank you.


I believe in change in the society. I am a social worker and development worker. I dream big and I work for under privileged women and children in Nepal. If you believe in my work (see at & please join the cause. Change is possible and we all can become an agent of change.


Interview with Bishnu Maya Pariyar Social Intrepreneur, Oct 2010

Bishnu Maya Pariyar award

I was honored along with Arjun P. Mainali by Ambassador Dr. Shankar P. Sharma on behalf of Vishwa Parikrama newspaper during its 100th issue publication and reception program in Silver Spring, MD, USA on June 17, 2012. Read news at:

Professional ​info​​

I am a social worker and work in the field of social development and domestic violence against women and children.

Key Skills

Training Leadership | Translation| Outreach/ Education| Project management| Research & Reporting

Career​ Snapshot

Participated in over 25 conferences as a panelist and speaker.
Received over 20 awards for recognition in areas of social responsibility, community service and social issues related to women and children.​

Mission Statement

“I am a dedicated social service professional whose mission is to empower those in need through my experience and caring spirit”.

Bishnu change is possible


2007: Masters of Arts, International Development & Social Change
Clark University, Worchester, MA, USA
2004: Bachelors of Arts, Social & Politics Systems
Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

Work​ Experience​

2013-present: Case Manager, HarborCov, Communities Overcoming Violence, MA, USA
​2004-present: South Asian Advocate/ Education and Outreach
2007-2012: Domestic Violence /Family Advocate
2001-2003: Student Advisor, PINE MANOR COLLEGE, , Chestnut Hill, MA
1994-1997: Student Leader, University of Wisconsin, Kathmandu, Nepal​

Professional Training
2013: Elder Protective service training by Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs
2013: Medical Assistant Program by Cooperative of Human Services, Inc.
2012: Refugee & Immigration by Muslim African Women’s Network
2012: Responding to sexual Violence by Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
2012: First Aid Training by American Heart Association
2012: CPA AED Training by American Heart Association
2012: Basic Public Benefit Training by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
2012: Public Housing Training by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
2012: Assisting Families, Experiencing Homelessness by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
2012: Immigration and Public Benefits by by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
2012: Cash Assistance for Massachusetts family & Individual (TAFDC & EAEDC) by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
2008: Domestic Violence Danger Assessment and Risk Management by Emerge in Marlborough, MA
2007: Proactive Alternative for Change by Cooperative for Human Services, Inc.
2007-2010 & 2012: CAP Psycho-Educational and Support Groups by Community Advocacy Program
2007: Empathy & Engagement Training by Community Advocacy Program
2005: A Different Kind of Violence: Trafficking and Labor Exploitation in Massachusetts by Jane Doe Inc.​


2003-present: Founder, Empower Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON)
1996-present: Founder and President, Association for Dalit Women’s Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN)
Kathmandu, Nepal
2012-present: Project Champion, Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA) ICC
Kathmandu, Nepal |
2013-present: Advisor, Pashupati Buddha Foundation
Boston, MA, USA
2010-2012: Advisor, Greater Boston Nepali Society (GBNC)
Boston, MA, USA
2012-present: Board of Director, Gyan Jyoti Kendra
New Hempshire, USA |
2012-2012: Board of Director, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRN USA)
USA |​

Awards | Recognitions

2013: Outstanding Social Service Award (Nepali Jana Samparka Samiti, New York Chapter)
2012: Appreciation Award (Nepalese Women’s Global Network-NWGN California Chapter, USA)
2012: Outstanding Community Service Award (Nepalese Association of Southeast America-NASeA, GA, USA)
2012: Commendation for Outstanding Social work (Vishwa Parikrama Newspaper, VA, USA)
2011: Nepal Felicitation (Samman) 2068 (Sagaramatha Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal)
2011: Community Service Award (Greater Boston Nepalese Communinty-GBNC, MA, USA)
2010: Guest of Honor award (US Nepal Media Center,, NY, USA
2010: Solute Our Hero Award (Association of Nelais in Americas-ANA,, Boston, MA, USA)
2009: Award for Social Work (Himalayan Lions Club of New England, MA, USA)
2007: Perdita Huston Activist for Human Rights Award (United Nations, NY, USA)
2005-07: Social Change Fellow “05”-“07” (Clark University, MA, USA)
2006: Woman of the Year 2006 (Indian New England, MA, USA)
2006; Bridge Builder 2006 (Harvard University, MA, USA)
2004: Pauline Tompkins Award (Pine Manor College, MA, USA)
2004: Women Leadership Award (Pine Manor College, MA, USA)
2003: Dr. Ambedkar Award (Association of International Dalit Organizations, Vancouver, Canada)
2003: President’s Cup Award (Pine Manor College, MA, USA)
2001: Community Service Award (Pine Manor College, MA, USA)
1993-1996: Manakamana Women’s Scholarship (The Himalaya Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal)

Personal Details

Date of birth: December 19, 1973
Place of birth: Taklung-2, Gorkha, Nepal
Parents: Father: Rupahadur Pariyar; Mother: Kanmaya Pariyar
Siblings: 11 (Sisters: 10; brother: 1)

Info & contact:

Personal website:
Official websites: &
Facebook page:
Twitter page:
Google+ page:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone (USA): +1+617-320-9768

The Canadian Foundation for Nepal states eloquently about Bishnu, in a nutshell:

Bishnu Maya Pariyar, M.A. Bishnu Maya Pariyar, Founder and President of “Empower Dalit Women of Nepal” (EDWON), is a prolific social entrepreneur and a most admired personality in Nepal’s Dalits, the so called low-caste or untouchable people who are traditionally marginalized in the society. A bright student from her early school years, she beat many social and economic obstacles and exclusion she faced due to her caste, gender, and poor economic standings and emerged to become a award winning scholar and a social entrepreneur. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAToday, she has won more than a dozen scholarships and awards and became a rising youth leader in broader Nepalese community, not just Dalits.

Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Political Systems from Nepal and the USA and a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, she now works in the USA as an advocate and councelor on domestic violence, while dedicating the rest of her time in uplifting of Nepal’s marginalized people.

Having realized that low caste women have no advocates and are not served well by established aid organizations, Ms. Pariyar founded EDWON with an exclusive objective of serving Dalit women and children of Nepal.

She was only 20 at the time she founded EDWON.

Today, she has made significant impact in the fields of human rights of women and Dalits as well as in bringing social change through development. And her contributions have not gone unnoticed. In recent times, she has lectured at Harvard University and other prestigious universities and colleges and has been panelist and speaker at national and international conferences.

Added with these credence are awards including The Bridge Builder Award from the Harvard University, Perdita Hudson Human Rights Award by United Nations Association of USA, Dr. Ambedkar Award by Association of International Dalit Organizations, Margaret McNamara Memorial Award by World Bank Family Network, Pauline Tompkins Award, Women’s Leadership Award and President Cup Award from Pine Manor College, and Social change Fellow from Clark University.

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A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this woman leader of positive change into our Alumni with open arms, looking forward to collaboration, bettering the lives of all women, honoring her focus in Nepal.


Brava Bishnu!



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