NEPALGUNJ, April 25: Balika Rawat of Fultekra, Nepalgunj had never imagined that some day she would be able to start an industrial venture of her own. Then one day her husband, the only breadwinner of her family, was killed by the Maoists.
Twelve years ago, during the insurgency, Rawat´s husband was accused of being a police informer and put to death by the Maoists.
But Rawat´s fortunes have bounced back she started a small scale industry which makes paper files and envelopes. At her Panchankanya File and Envelope Industry, which collects and recycles used paper, Rawat has hired 12 other people. All her employees earn more than Rs. 6,000 a month.
“I was confined to my home for many years after my husband was murdered,” Rawat says, “but eventually I realized that that was not going to help me and I decided to start this industrial venture.” According to her, the venture is making a net profit of Rs. 50,000 a month.
Rawat´s case is a rarity in Nepali society. She faced difficulties in the beginning and overcame many obstacles that came her way. “Some of my relatives suggested to me to stay back home but it was not possible to feed and educate my children without working.”
After she decided to start her venture, she sought help from NGOs, but to no avail. That did not discourage her but instead prompted her to start up the ventue on her own. It has since grown progressively and now manufactures 30,000 files and 15,000 envelopes a month.
To establish a foothold for her products in the market, she sold the files at Rs. 2 per piece while the prevailing market price was Rs. 5. Due to the price advantage, demands for Panchakanya files and envelops swelled in a very short time. Rawat says, “The demand is such that we have not been able to fulfill it.”
With the income from the industrial venture, Rawat has sent her children to school in Kathmandu. Her eldest son is pursuing his studies in Chartered Accountancy and a younger daughter is enrolled at higher secondary level. Rawat has been spending Rs. 35,000 a month for the education of her children.