Dailekh, July 13
Dambar BK’s house in Mamalika village is six hours walk from Dailekh district headquarters. The village is rather dry for cultivation and the nearby market is an hour’s walk away. Most men from the village are wage labourers in India.
BK, a mother of four, toils hard in the dry fields to eke out a living for her family. Her husband is hearing-impaired, whereas her 24-year-old son is a daily wage earner in India. Last year, she took entrepreneurship development training. “I learnt selling skills at the training. Now I have set up a small shop in my village. The training changed my life,” said BK. With the new found income, her three daughters go to school, she says.
Gauri Kumari Tamrakar, 18, from the same village lost her parents at an early age and has no one to depend on. Her elder brother and sister-in-law are employed in India. She had been a working as a daily wage earner to bring up her three younger siblings. “I took the training and started my own business with an investment of Rs 2,500. Now my business worth is over Rs 50,000 within a year. I can easily afford my siblings’ education now,” she said.
Dambar and Gauri are emerging entrepreneurs among 400 other women participating in the training conducted under Hamri Didi programme. The programme aims to help Nepali women in the mid and far-west Nepal set up small businesses. It is a joint initiative of Unilever Nepal, RAP3 CONNECT and Prabhu Bank, informed Subashini Chandran, team leader of RAP CONNECT.
RAP3 CONNECT is a part of the Rural Access Programme, a joint initiative of Nepal government and UKAID that aims to alleviate poverty and foster socio-economic development through construction of transport infrastructure in remote parts of Nepal. “This partnership between RAP 3 CONNECT, Prabhu Bank and Unilever Nepal is very important as it focuses on making women independent,” said Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Chiranjibi Nepal.
The initiative also bagged Collaboration Champion Award 2017. The programme is currently selecting women in Dadeldhura, Bajura, Achham, Dailekh, Doti and Jumla to groom them as entrepreneurs. It has helped open the door to financial independence for many women from the mid and far-western districts and it also aims to produce more than 600 women entrepreneurs by the end of the programme, according to Subashini Chandran.
A version of this article appears in print on July 14, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.