NGO teaches women the money-making ropes

NEW DELHI: Until a few days ago, the making of different kinds of snacks made of potato, lentil beans and refined bread such as potato chips, bhujia, dalmoth, papad (roasted flat lentils) were a jigsaw puzzle for Smita Shrestha of Kavre.

The making of these snacks was also a great mystery for thirteen other Nepali women and two Nepali men, but not anymore. They have now learnt how to easily make these everyday snacks, thanks to BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation and two Indian institutions Khadi Village Industries Commission and DCVS, all India-level NGOs.

All these participants of a two-week ‘Skill Development Programme for Nepalese Women’ can now perfectly make all these snacks with very little resources.

“Before I came here, I thought it was very difficult to make bhujia and papad. My feeling was that these things could be made only with the help of sophisticated machines,” Shrestha told the Himalayan Times after receiving her certificate of participation at KVIC auditorium in the Indian capital.

Sharing their experience in the programme, the participants said if such knowledge and skills were imparted to housewives across villages or anybody who are eager to do self help scheme, it could prove to be a big contribution towards poverty reduction and social empowerment. According to the participants, the making of these snacks require only a few hundred rupees.

“It is easy because all you need is some potatoes, lentils and different spices which

are available everywhere,” said another participant Masura Adhikari. Some of the participants are carrying back home the snack-making machines from New Delhi. These machines cost somewhere between IRs 400 to 450.

Goma Basnet of Dang said she would now open an institute to train other women in her district how to make these snacks. She said a lot of rural women while away their precious time due to lack of suitable jobs can benefit if they were trained.

Nepal’s new ambassador to India Rukma Shamsher Rana, who was the chief guest in a public programme for the first time, said the objective of BPKINF is to increase cooperation and exchange between the peoples of the two countries and the programme truly served the aim of the organisation.

Stating that such programmes can empower rural women, the ambassador urged the participants to train other women in snack-aking across the villages so that others also benefit from such skills.

KVIC Director Amar Singh said he was very impressed with strong motivation shown by the participants. Social activist Ruchi Singh, who coordinated the event, said bilateral organisations like BPKINF should not necessarily focus on research-oriented issued but should also focus on issues that would really empower marginalised sections of society.