KWDMCC changes lives

Tanahu, September 25:

Nearly a decade ago, when a group of enthusiastic women started collecting money singing Bhailo — traditional songs sang specially during Tihar — to create a small fund to fulfil their small household ne-eds, they had not dreamt of becoming entrepreneurs one day.

But today, they run an institution in the hilly village of Khairenintar, some 30-km south of Pokhara that has a saving of Rs 3.5 million collected from its 433 members.

“We are now so rich that we can lend Rs 0.1 million to any other institution. We can play a role of a local bank,” said Sita Devi Bishwakarma, chairperson of the Khairenitar Women’s Development Multipurpose Cooperative Committee (KWDMCC).

After they collected a small sum of money through Bhailo programme, they thought of saving money regularly five rupees every month. This small idea gave birth to a full-fledged cooperative later on. “Slowly, we understood the meaning and importance of savings and are now proud to be able to run a cooperate,” she added.

She said that 60 per cent of its members have borrowed money for cattle-raising, while others started small-scale business from the cooperative’s loan. Business, vegetable-farming, education and social activities are other investment portfolio.

Laxmi Shrestha, the manager of KWDMCC, said that apart from providing loans to its members, the cooperate has provided support to local hospital and campus as well.

“We are not only concerned about money. By providing loan to women, we try to empower them and unite them. The cooperative has also helped different social activities,” she said adding that there is no chance of misusing the loan as there is a strong social group that monitors each of the members’ activities. The KWDMCC charges 12 per cent interest rates on loan.

However, Surya Devi Lamsal, a member of the cooperative said that the beginning was quite tough.

“When we started loan for goat programme, many of the members even returned goats, we have provided them. Later, as they saw other members making profits, they also came to us,” she said.