“Sita Tamang’s husband went missing sometime in 2004, two years before Nepal’s civil war came to an end. A native of Dharan, a town about 600 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu, Tamang waited seven years after his disappearance before she tried to claim compensation offered by the government after the 2006 peace deal ended this country’s bloodshed.
When she finally managed to get hold of government officials in Dharan overseeing compensation procedures, she was met with the thorny request that she ‘prove’ her marriage to the father of her three children, whom she had lived with for a decade and a half.
As was customary, Tamang and her husband had gone through the traditional marriage ceremony but had not obtained any civil documents.
In addition to taking care of her three children, including two daughters, Tamang was saddled with the added burden of seeking the required paperwork before even beginning the bureaucratic process of securing compensation.
‘That is the way things are here,’ she told IPS simply. ‘Women will always have it a bit hard.’”