Jetha Praja, 73, is a resident of Siddhi Kharkha, Gajuri rural municipality-4, Dhading, lives with his son, daughter in law and grand-daughter. The family owns a small plot of land and produce food which is insufficient for more than six months. To earn additional livelihood, Jetha makes doko (baskets) and his son works at building construction sites as a daily wage labourer. Family was able to sustain their living with these earnings. However, the pandemic affected them severely. The resource-poor families like Jetha’s suffer from food security in absence of a steady income.
“My son does not have any work right now, because of COVID-19. Every day, I worry about how we can manage the household on a day to day basis. My mind is preoccupied with thoughts of not being able to afford food rations due to the increase of prices on food items,” said Jetha Praja, sadly.
As part of Purnima project, vulnerable groups in the communities are categorised as people with disabilities, elderly, single women, and food insecure households, and are provided with the support of livelihood to improve their food security.
Jetha Praja was provided with two hybrid cross breed goats through the project. The goats have also given birth to two baby goats, one of which is a male-goat. Jetha says, “I have grown grass around the house backyard. The goats will give birth to kids every year and I will sell the adult goats during festival season. It can easily raise around Rs. 20 -25,000 per goat.” According to Jetha, this income will cover his household expenses.
Before receiving the goats through Purnima, Jetha had not reared any animals. So, he had been provided knowledge and skills on feeding, breeding, knowledge on diseases and parasites including goat shed management during this COVID induced lockdown.
“If the goat kids get sick, I can call the technical officer from Purnima. They ask me about the details and advise me on what I should do, or if I should go seek assistance from the vet. Being able to reach them by phone has really helped me,” informs Jetha.
Jetha has also received counselling on running his traditional bamboo basket “Doko” and support for market linkage with local vendors within palikas. Local vendors can take orders from him for the required number and continue making basket for business purposes. Prior to the lockdown, Jetha would go around the village to sell his basket, but this is impossible during the pandemic. Furthermore, his leg does not allow him to walk as much. To help ease his mobility, the project team has decided to provide him with crutches. “They took my measurement and I hope to get them soon. It would make it so much easier for me to walk,” said Jetha.
At present, Jetha is taking care and preparing his goats to sell them during festival season for good amount, as well as running his basket business from home. “After I received counselling from the Purnima team, I have been selling the baskets from home. My neighbours come to buy them and I make sure I follow the safety guidelines” he shared happily.
Text: DanChurchAid (DCA)
Photo by: Phulmaya Uparkoti