Nepalgunj kids prove small savings mean a lot

Nepalgunj, October 31:

Children aged between 6 and 16 years have blazed a new trail in Bageshwari VDC and also set an example for the old and the young alike by setting up a child savings fund.

The children, who started their endeavour seven years ago, now have a whopping Rs 80,000 in their fund. Some 85 children are running the fund.

From the interest accumulating on the fund, the children helped handicapped Champa Khatri rejoin school. Champa had dropped out due to her family’s financial problems. Thanks to the fund, she is back where she wanted to be.

At first, 23 children instituted the fund by skipping their mid-day meal and donating Rs 10 each to the fund. According to eighth grader Sagar Bhatta, 13, the idea of setting up the fund occurred to them after seeing the plight of poor children who were unable to attend school.

Third grader Deepu Sunar, 8, said the fund was helping underprivileged children enroll at school. The children also lend parents and guardians money at the rate of two per cent per Rs 100. However, it is mandatory for loan takers to spend the money on their children’s welfare. The children are also running a cleanliness and hygiene programme in the village with the money that accrues as interest on the loan. They also hold regular sports competitions and mental ability development programmes.

Chairperson of the fund Nirmala Thapa said: “We put aside part of our lunch allowance for the fund.

With the money thus saved, we are concentrating on child development and cleanliness in the village.”

A 13-member panel manages the fund and the committee meets in the fourth week of every month. So far, they have not lost even a rupee in all their investments and loans. “We first ascertain whether a guardian applying for a loan really needs it. After inquiries, we sanction the loan,” said Nirmala. A local, Laxmi Prasad Kandel, said: “The fund has come as a shot in the arm for students and guardians. Earlier, many people had to withdraw their children from school due to lack of money. Now, they have an option.”