A single mother, a tornado and a cosmetic business

Caritas Nepal > Latest Posts > #StoriesOfChange > A single mother, a tornado and a cosmetic business
  • Hannah Maureen Wagner-Loeffler
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Being a single mother is difficult in all circumstances, but especially for women who are in the lower income range and who also have to bear the burden of natural disasters. 45-year-old Danmati Devi Yadav from Telgai village, mother of three daughters, is exposed to both: Several times in her life she had to push her limits to lead her family through difficult times. However, after the hardest stroke of fate so far, a tornado, Danmati was happy that she could rely on the support of Caritas. This gave her the feeling of not being completely alone for the first in a long time.

When Danmati Devi Yadav was pregnant with her third daughter 10 years ago, her husband died unexpectedly. Her mother-in-law also died shortly afterwards, which meant that from then on she had to take care of the entire household and her daughters all by herself. She couldn’t even hope for help from her own biological family since a girl in Nepal is formally no longer a member of the old family as soon as she gets married. “After this incident, I was so alone! I worked hard, but it was hardly enough to survive!” To cover family expenses like medicine, clothing and food, she worked in the field or in other people’s kitchens. “I really tried my best, but often my best was not even enough!” The family’s situation became even more difficult when they had fallen victim to another severe blow.

“When the tornado swept over our village, the entire roof of my house was destroyed. I was scared, but I knew that I had to stay calm and strong for my children.”

On March 31, 2019, when a tornado like the villagers had never seen before raged in Bara district a total of 10 Villages were destroyed and many people injured. “Imagine my situation! I couldn’t even cope with my husband’s death yet. But then the tornado came and added even more suffering to those bitter times!”

“My entire crop, all my fields – destroyed! I did not know what to do. But when I was in the middle of my worst days, Caritas came and gave me relief and hope for a better future again.” Caritas supported Danmati with a self-employment program in which she received 517 rupees per day for the repair of her house and her fields. In addition, she received seedlings and a 10,000 rupee fund to start a business. “Now I go regularly to the Indian border and buy cosmetic products which I sell in my village and in neighbouring villages.” explains Danmati. Thanks to the business, she earns around 200 rupees a day, and even more in the wedding season. This helped her to save a total of 25,000 rupees. Danmait concludes with great hope:

“I am so happy that I can now send my children to school without any problems. I don’t want them to suffer like me later in their lives.”

The savings now give Danmati the opportunity to further expand her business and also to be able to handle difficult times better in the future. “The only thing that really worries me these days is what happens if I can’t work for some reason. How should I feed my children when I can’t work? Who jumps in instead of me? There is nobody! But now the savings give me and my family more security. I see a bright future ahead of me!”

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