No End To Hard Times by Nitu Ghale

Nitu Ghale/

Nisha, 23, is from Humla and Dilkumari, 22 is from Dailekh. As transgender women living in Kathmandu, Nisha and Dilkumari have to deal everyday with social stigma, economic barriers and lack of access to services, and the COVID-19 pandemic has ripped their lives apart. While the government-imposed lockdown has ended, Nisha and Dilkumari’s troubles are far from over.

“Many in the LGBTI community were forced to return to the place where they escaped from due to the four-month lockdown. Some were out, but many were not, and they have had to suffer violence, stigma and humiliation from neighbours and family members. They want to return, but they can’t. Meanwhile, many are suffering in Kathmandu as they have lost their jobs, and many don’t even know where the next meal is coming from.”
-Dilkumari 22, Laltipur

“Every single day is hard. I was in my fourth year of college but I can’t attend classes. I used to work as a social worker, and have lost my job. I took a loan to survive but how long will that money last? I am worried that my landlord will kick me out as I don’t know where the rent money is coming from. But I am not the only one struggling, many others are too. In order to survive, many have had to go back to sex work. It is hard to find clients in the pandemic. It is hard to be out late at night. The locals have started clamping down. They beat up one of my friends yesterday as she was moving around their area. We lived in pain during the lockdown, and we still live in pain when the lockdown has opened.”
-Nisha, 23, Lalitpur

Text and Photos: Nitu Ghale @eastern_keen
Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

#nepalphotoproject #nepalnow #Covid19 #covidresponse #sexualminority #storiesofpandemic #lockdown #kathmandu #lalitpur #stigma