Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar Receives Social Service Award for Decades-Long Fight for Equality

Rights activist Dr. Bishnumaya Pariyar has been honored with the prestigious Badri Pahari Social Service Award by the award selection committee of Shanti Samaj on March 13. The award, valued at NRs 110,000, recognizes her tireless efforts spanning over two and a half decades to fight for human rights, social justice, and improve the lives of marginalized communities in Nepal.

The Human Rights and Peace Society announced this year’s recipient, Bishnumaya Pariyar, citing her remarkable dedication and impact in the field of human rights activism. Ramakrishna Baral, representing the society, issued a statement on Thursday to convey this significant recognition.

Pariyar’s relentless advocacy for social justice has garnered accolades both nationally and internationally over the past twenty-five years. She has been actively engaged in promoting and defending human rights, often serving as a keynote speaker at various universities and institutions worldwide.

Originally hailing from Gorkha, Pariyar’s influence extends far beyond her birthplace. Her work has been acknowledged to such an extent that her life and achievements are now part of the curriculum in the Massachusetts State Education Department’s seventh-grade syllabus. Additionally, she has been featured prominently in a publication by a renowned global textbook publishing company.

Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar serves as Program Director at Hudson Speaks Against Sexual Violence in New Jersey. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Pariyar)

Pariyar, born into a Dalit family in Gorkha, Nepal (Dalit translates to “oppressed”), faced discrimination from a young age. This hardship fueled her passion for social activism. Despite financial struggles and societal limitations, she excelled in school, even walking four hours daily to attend classes. Her dedication to education earned her a scholarship to Pine Manor College in the United States, where she graduated with a degree in social and political science.

Pariyar’s life journey exemplifies resilience and unwavering commitment. While attending college, she cooked for factory workers and worked at a restaurant to make ends meet. An American Peace Corps volunteer’s support became a turning point, providing her with the resources to pursue higher education.

Pariyar went on to earn a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change. She has since dedicated her career to advocating for domestic violence victims and uplifting the lives of Dalit women and children in Nepal.

Through the Association for Dalit Women Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN), co-founded by Pariyar, over 13,000 children have received access to education. Her organization has empowered thousands of women by providing financial, educational, and social support. Additionally, ADWAN has provided relief to earthquake victims and built homes for those in need.

Pariyar’s achievements have garnered international recognition. She has received numerous awards, including the Perdita Huston Activist for Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association of the USA and the Bridge Builder Award from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. A testament to her impact, a day in her honor was declared in Louisville, Kentucky.