Women becoming financially self-reliant

Kathmandu, October 3:

Women of Jagriti Nagar, a slum area in Sinamangal with 108 households, have become financially independent and secure after they started saving a certain portion of their income every month. The saved amount is invested in small-scaled businesses.

Most of the people of the area eke out their living from the average daily wages of Rs 150. With this income it was difficult for women to even meet their daily expenses. Women’s saving programme, Ekata Samaj, started in 2003 has improved the situation and raised the financial status of women here, says Kalyani Rai, president of the Ekata Samaj.

Recently Bishnu Kumari Tamang, a member of the Ekata Samaj, borrowed money from the saving group for treatment of her husband’s appendicitis. Tamang’s financial status has improved a lot after she started piglet farming. Her business is to invest on piglets, raise them and sell in the market. Her business earns her profit of around Rs 4,000 in six months. “Tamang could afford to treat her husband’s because she could repay it,” said Rai.Three years down the line, the women’s savings have reached up to Rs 0.18 million. The women’s group sits for a meeting every month, records the debit and credit in the passbook and gives out information of the financial status of the savings. Members can take loan upto Rs 5,000 at two per cent interest. A borrower has to repay Rs 500 every month. Around Rs 15,000 is kept as precautionary measures. “This has boosted the self-esteem of women, many have now borrowed from the group and invested in businesses which has helped to share the financial burden of the family,” said Kalyani.