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HAT - Humanitarian Aid Trust Nepal

Maya’s Story – Empowering Rural Communities Through Business-Related Training

Maya, a resident of Naraharinath‑4, Kalikot, had been struggling to make ends meet. With a family of nine to support, including her husband, in-laws and a daughter, their main occupation is agriculture. However, their land was steep and insufficient to sustain their needs for the entire year. To cope with the financial challenge, they would have to work as labourers in neighbouring villages for six months and as migrant workers in India for another six months.

Things took a turn for the better when the INF Nepal Kalikot branch formed a self-help group (SHG) in their village and edu­cated them about the ben­e­fits of joining the group. Maya joined the Mahadev self-help group of 21 members and started attend­ing their regular meet­ings twice a month. The group dis­cussed social issues, iden­ti­fied com­mu­nity prob­lems, and devel­oped action plans to solve them. They worked on con­struct­ing an irri­ga­tion canal, safe drink­ing water taps, path­ways, and waste management.

The group meeting also focused on finan­cial man­age­ment, such as saving and credit. It encour­aged com­mu­nity members to start busi­nesses such as poultry farming, goat rearing, and veg­etable farming. They received busi­ness-related train­ing, mate­ri­als and veg­etable seeds to begin com­mu­nal veg­etable farming. Maya allowed the group to use her land for this purpose, cul­ti­vat­ing veg­eta­bles and sharing the produce equally. It was a test project which was a success for the members.

After learn­ing from com­mu­nal farming, Maya wanted to cul­ti­vate off-sea­sonal veg­eta­bles. She requested the SHG’s support for the required items. INF Nepal pro­vided Maya with two plastic tunnels and veg­etable seeds. Maya quickly started off-sea­sonal veg­etable farming. She cul­ti­vated toma­toes, onions, and green veg­eta­bles in the tunnel. She sold them in the nearest market of Narhar­i­nath RM, earning a net income of Rs. 12,000. Her family also ben­e­fited from eating fresh veg­eta­bles from their own kitchen garden at home, improv­ing their health. She invested the earn­ings in her child’s education.

Maya’s success story is a tes­ta­ment to the power of self-help groups and busi­ness-related train­ing in empow­er­ing rural com­mu­ni­ties. She expressed her grat­i­tude to the INF Nepal Kalikot branch staff for their support in improv­ing their lives. Her expe­ri­ence shows that cul­ti­vat­ing high-value crops can help increase income and support poor and back­ward members of the community.