Parbati was married when she was 9. When her daughter was born, her husband left her because she gave birth to a girl. Parbati struggled to raise her daughter. She wanted to send her daughter to school and receive a good education so she would have not have to face problems like she does. So she went to a gulf country as a migrant worker. She could not earn much but she was successful to help her daughter complete her schooling. There were days when she did not eat meals just so that her daughter could eat. Her daughter has now grown up and is safely working.
Parbati is living in a rented room in Pokhara. She opened a small retail shop about three years ago. It was just enough to survive. She needed a loan in order to expand and increase her profits. She requested loans in many places but to no avail. Nobody trusted that she could repay the loan because she was a single woman and the interest rates were too high.
At the beginning of the My Business My Freedom project, staff from 3 Angels Nepal (3AN) [our project partner] were visiting homes in poor communities. They met Parbati. “The 3AN team were so friendly and kind. I was provided lessons on overcoming poverty and encouraged to be self-dependent through entrepreneurship. I joined a group of 20 women in my community. I was lucky to receive a loan of Rs.33,000 [US$300] at a reasonable interest repayment rate. After I invested the money in my shop, my sales began to increase,” explained Parbati.
Parbati was able to payback her loan and then took another loan of Rs. 100,000 [US$900]. She is now able to earn a profit of around Rs 18,000 [US$163] per month. This is a significant increase in her earnings. Her life has taken a different course. She feels that the way society now looks at her has changed. Parbati is filled with confidence, positivity and empowerment. She is also now able to save part of her earning for her future.
Dil lives with her daughter in a rural area 25 kilometers away from the city. They live in two rented rooms with a roof made up of zinc sheets. She works as a farm laborer to provide for her and her daughter.
Women Entrepreneurs Affected during Nepal Lockdown
Anjana, 30, is married and has 2 children. Because she married at an early age of 16 with neither her or her husband having any source of income, their parents refused to support them. She felt the need to work or start her own business, but she had no means of funding. To support the family, Anjana’s husband started working at a cobbler’s place. There he earned about NPR 6,000 (AUD 65) per month, which was barely enough to provide for their rent and other basic needs. They struggled financially.
Suma Pun (28) lives with her husband and child. Her husband is 60 years old and unable to support his family. Suma joined the My Business My Freedom and with her first microloan, purchased a sewing machine to make clothes to sell.