Skill that gives alternative stability

Sita Ghimire, 28 from Gajuri palika ward no. 8 Kiranchowk village in Dhading district, remembers how they were affected by the disastrous earthquake in 2015. “After our house collapsed, we started living in a temporary shelter. We did not register for the grievances for housing grant as my family were unaware about it,” shared Sita.

The house and small patch of land are the only property that Sita’s family owned. Both husband and wife worked as wage labourers, which was the only source of income for her family. The vegetables grown in the small land hardly covers their basic needs. Because of this, Sita also makes soft toys as an alternative source of income. “One of the main concerns for me and my husband is affording good education for our daughter. The money we earn is not enough to even rebuild our home, “she further added.

Sita and her family was listed amongst vulnerable families during the assessment by Purnima. The local government also identified and recommended Sita’s household for livelihood support.
A month-long soft toy making training was organized with the objective to improve income generation of vulnerable families. Sita was part of the training and upon completion, she started making soft toys to sell in the market. “Whenever I have free time, I make toys. It also fetches a good price in the local market,” said Sita. “Students from nearby school buys the toys which is helping in my earning,” she added.

Besides learning skills about toy making, Sita also received full information about the grievance registration process for housing reconstruction through Purnima. With support from the programme she filed for grievance at the Rural Municipality (Palika). She was listed as an eligible beneficiary from reconstruction grant by NRA.

Sita is also a member of Kalika women group where she is saves NPR 100 per month, and similarly saved NPR 50 at Chainpur Agriculture group. She is actively engaged in both groups as a treasurer and chairperson, respectively. “I have taken up soft toys handicraft professionally as it is a good alternative source of my income,” she said. Her neighbor is also interested in learning the skills and Sita plans to transfer her skills to others too.

In months’ time after receiving the support, Sita has realized that knowledge and learning skills can help improve one’s livelihood and she wants to ensure other vulnerable households in her community to receive such support. “I plan to participate in the upcoming local level planning process representing the mother’s group to call additional fund allocation for other skills trainings for vulnerable groups,” she added. These trainings can help them improve their income generation and better their lives.

Like Sita, nine households have received soft toy making training due to its popularity.