Determination leads to empowerment

  • Dipendra Lamsal
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Ms. Sajima Khatun, a mother of two kids with husband and mother in-law in the family is staying at Kodauha village of ward no.4 of Kapilvastu. Relying of daily wage labor by her husband was barely helping the family to manage household expenses. Grew up in Muslim community, she was not allowed to work outside. She has 1015 square meter of farming land where the production was only helping them for a month due to irrigation facility. Depending on rain water made their farming self-sufficient and traditional. Targeting the smallholder women farmers through group formation an interaction sessions were conducted for capacity building.

Sajima was not allowed to be member as her husband didn’t allow her to attend the meeting. During his absence, she used to join the meeting and observe the activities. She was very much interested to be in the group but due to her husband’s restriction she couldn’t involve. Knowing about her interest, social mobilizer of that ward went to meet her husband to convince him, but her attempt went in vain. The social mobilizer again visited her house and talked with her mother in- law to allow her to be in the group. Sajima’s mother in-law supported her to be in the group convincing Sajima’s husband. Attending regular monthly meeting for about 4-5 months, she was able to show her commitment in the group. Her active participation and involvement made her eligible to be a chairperson. In ward no.4, there are 9 women group in 9 villages. In the ward level women network formation, she was recommended to be chairperson. Restriction from her husband did not bothered her anymore as her mother in-law helped her to be the chairperson of ward level women network. Regular monthly meeting, network meeting, frequent visit to ward office and municipality office enhanced her leadership abilities.

These days my husband supports me in my work. He helps me bringing required materials for sewing clothes like needle, thread, buttons and other materials from local market. Being a chairperson of women network I have to visit ward office and municipality frequently. But, he doesn’t react when I am late. My mother in law assists me in household chores. My daughter helps me in sewing clothes. I am really very happy for this achievement in my life and would like to thank peace Nepal, Caritas Nepal and Misereor Germany/KZE for this wonderful opportunity to explore and expand my capability and leadership quality.

She initiated to encourage other women not to be limited in household chores and fight for their rights. She was able to develop her personal leadership skills but still she was financially laid back. It was very hard for her family to manage household expenses and children’s education. When she was a young girl, she did learned to sew clothes. But due to financial crisis she couldn’t invest on tailor machine. She requested social mobilizer of the program could support her to buy tailor machine. As, program had planned to provide cash support to marginalized women, the women group decided to provide that support to her.

The program provided NPR.6000/- and she added Rs.4500/- to buy a tailor machine. Staying at home she started to sew clothes of the villagers. Her nearby villagers used to go to market for sewing their clothes. She started sewing it in low cost as compared to market cost. The customer flow increased day by day which helped her to earn NPR. 500 per day. She is training her daughter to assist in sewing clothes. She completes her household chores and sews two sets of clothes (Salwar Kameez) per day. Looking upon her hard work, skills and leadership quality, the women members of her group requested her to teach tailoring to their daughters as well. Now she has started training 5 girls with free of cost. With the motive of sustaining their life by their own in the future, she has started to teach them, guide them and motivate them to stand on their own foot.

Tailoring skill would really be one of the good platform to earn and become self-dependent and develop owns capacity and skill. She remembers the days when she had to face difficulty in managing food twice a day also. She was not even trusted for loan. There was no any source of income except husband’s daily wage work. She shares that, involving in the group with saving has encouraged her to develop her capacity socially and economically. This has helped her to start up with her own skill for earning. With this earning, it has become easy to run her family expenses. She is planning to buy iron and interlock machine from her saving in near future. She has realized that, small investment can also lead to initiate for business which has helped to uplift her livelihood.

A female who was not allowed to be in the group has proven that if an opportunity is given, women can achieve more than her expectation. Her hard work, dedication and commitment towards the community has made her recognized with her name and fame.

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