Swastika Kasaju

I grew up in Nepal and spent most of my life there studying and working in the field of social work. I moved to London a few years ago and was working as a freelance consultant in the field of international development. Now I am a full-time new mom, taking care of my free range one-year-old.

I completed my BA in Social Work and went on to do a Masters in Gender Studies in Kathmandu. I then worked for over 10 years in the development sector, specifically on child rights and women’s rights issues. I worked in different NGOs and specialised in project delivery and management.

During my employment in CWIN-Nepal, a child rights NGOs, where I worked as an assistant project manager in a project for street children, I came across Hanna. I translated and transcribed interview material for her PhD research, and the majority of the stories and interview extracts in this podcast series have been translated from Nepali to English by me. Years later, after moving to London, our paths crossed again, and we embarked on this exciting podcast adventure together!'
Hanna Ketola

Hanna Ketola

I grew up in Finland, but I live in Sheffield (UK), where I work and run after my two very energetic children. I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Sheffield, with a project called Civil War Paths.

I first started to learn about issues of peace and conflict when I lived in Nepal in 2008, working as an intern at a Nepalese child rights organisation. The year 2008 was a very interesting time to be in Nepal. The first Constituent Assembly elections after the war were taking place and the political shifts that resulted seemed immense and exciting. I was trying to grasp what was going on, talking with friends and colleagues. After returning home to the UK I had many questions about who gets to speak and tell stories about peace and peacebuilding.

After completing my MA in International Relations and working in a London based development INGO I finally decided to embark on a PhD in 2011. In my PhD I explored gender, peacebuilding and women’s agency in post-conflict Nepal. I met and interviewed women who fought in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), women activists engaged in the victims’ movement, representatives of women’s NGOs, human rights NGOs as well as representatives of various international organisations and government agencies.

I am very excited to explore podcasting as a way of sharing the stories and encounters that emerged when conducting this research, and to co-host this series with Swastika!

Voices of the stories

Ankeeta Manandhar

My name is Ankeeta Manandhar and I am a Project Officer at Voices of Women (VOW) Media and have been associated with VOW Media for the last five years. Apart from that I am also a student in Clinical Psychology.

I have always been interested in psychology but my passion for understanding human behaviour grew after I had my own share of experience with clinical depression. Also, I love learning about what makes people behave the way they do, and why some people have no remorse. I am particularly interested in specialising in Criminal Psychology for the mere purpose of wanting to fulfil a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of crime and exploring how such crimes affect our society. The working of the human mind intrigues me.

Divya Thapa Magar

I am Divya Thapa Magar. I am a social work graduate, an entrepreneur and a registered dental nurse, working and living in the UK. I am originally from Nepal, and deeply passionate about issues surrounding women’s rights. I have travelled to many places to experience and explore different cultures. I strongly believe social changes start from individuals and change is something that we need to strive to bring about in the current world.

Manita Shrestha

My name is Manita Shrestha. I have completed both my BA and Masters in the US. I worked as a System Quality Analyst for almost four years at Wells Fargo Bank, the world's fourth-largest bank. Currently residing in Nepal, having moved from the US in July 2019, I am a fulltime housewife with my one and only daughter who is apparently (eyeroll) very fond of her father only. I love anything related to fashion but besides that, I love to sing, dance, and binge-watch on Netflix.

Production and Creative Direction

Lizzie Ellen

Lizzie Ellen

I am the Communications Manager for the School of Security Studies, King's College London. In this role I manage public engagement and communications activities across the School, War Studies and Defence Studies Departments. I will be shortly moving to a new role as the Senior Communications Manager in the faculty of Natural Mathematical and Engineering Sciences.

Prior to this, I held Communications Officer roles in the Policy Institute, King's College London, and at the University of Sheffield. Before working in Higher Education, I worked for Paul Blomfield MP.

I hold an MA in Modern Languages and a PGCE in French and Spanish both from the University of Oxford.

To the Women at War podcast, I contributed my creative insights in terms of script editing, producing and audio editing.
Ayesha Khan

Ayesha Khan

With a passion for creating and managing digital assets, I’ve supported various organisations in helping build brands and deliver targeted communications. I joined the Communications sector 5 years ago and thoroughly enjoy the daily challenges in relaying emerging research through a variety of different mediums. I’m currently a Communications Manager at Imperial College London.

I collaborated with the team on the ‘Women at War’ project to produce and edit podcasts as well as building the website.