KATHMANDU, May 3: Sita Danuwar of Baluwa VDC, Kavrepalanchowk never dared to dream of a prosperous life. With no education or work skills, she was confined to household chores.
Her husband, sole breadwinner of the family, tried hands at many things but without much success. Eventually, he took some loans and flew to a Gulf country to work. She was left alone to take care of their small children and her ageing parents-in-law.
The money her husband sends from abroad was not enough to pay for the debts, let alone meet other household requirements.
On account of these hardships, she never dared to dream of a good life fearing that unfulfilled wishes would lead to more frustrations. All that changed last year. She now earns enough to afford the basic requirements of her family on her own.
With a little investment, Danuwar started producing bran that is used as fodder for cattle and is always in demand in her village. She is also rearing a cow of her own that gives two liters of milk per day, out of which she sells 1 liter.
With the increased regular income, she has been able to pay for the education of her four daughters. She no longer has to knock on the doors of ´sahus´, local lenders, of her village. Finally, she has been able to dream.
She says, “I want my daughters to continue their education and become as capable as the educated men in society.”
The foundation stone for Danuwar´s progress was laid the day she joined the women´s group formed by Child Development Society (CDS), a non-government organization.
The organization encouraged her to attend the classes run by it where women are taught how to read and write. “I attended the classes regularly for a year,” she says. “Now I can keep an eye on what my children are studying and keep track of their progress.”
But the group´s activity was not limited to just learning how to read and write. The women were also taught about starting small businesses on their own. Moreover, the group also created a joint bank account where they can save their money and also draw certain amount as loan at a minimum interest.
“I took out loan from our group´s savings. This has saved me from the exorbitant interest charged by the sahus,” says Danuwar.
Danuwar shared her story at the Nepal Academy hall in the capital, where more than 1300 women like her had come together to attend the annual meeting organized by CDS.
Most of the women were from marginalized communities like Majhi, Tamang, Pahari, Danuwar, etc. The organization has helped these women earn their living through self-employment such as by rearing cattle, producing earthworm, opening shops, etc.
At present, there are 80 women´s groups facilitated by CDS in eight districts including Sindhupalchwok, Dhading, Kavre, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu.