A new path to a happy life

Sunita at her workplace. Photo by: Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville/Oxfam

I dared to walk in a new path that was not guaranteed. The project did not only help by providing technology, they also connected my products to the market

Sunita, 32, never thought she would be an entrepreneur. Born and raised in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Sunita used to weave Dhaka products in a production house for ten years to support herself and the family of four, financially. Over time, she began to form a small, unregistered weaving group of women from her community. Sunita, who had already learned to weave many years ago through a training in her community, was working along the group of women when earthquake in 2015 struck. The quake severely destroyed her workplace and disrupted her life. Though the business was small, she could earn some money for her survival. However, the earthquake left disruption in her life leading Sunita hopeless.

Eventually, Sunita received support and counselling from the intervention introduced by Oxfam in Nepal as Sustainable Development Project. This led her to decide on starting her own business rather than working for another company. Her motivation and dedication played key roles in helping her kick start the entrepreneurial journey.

Sunita who received five handlooms, weaving equipment and six months’ rent support, felt confident to start her own business. However, she did face challenges on her way to a new path. “Operating a business independently and working as an employee are very different in nature. When working for wages, one need not worry about administrative work and investments. After starting a business, it is necessary to pay more attention to these things,” said Sunita, a new business woman. Though she experienced challenges, through proper guidance she could head in a right track.

Oxfam in Nepal in partnership with Fair Trade Group Nepal (FTGN) supported women like Sunita in advancing in new pathways of life. After registering her business with proper counselling, she connected her products to the market at Sana Hasthakala with support from FTGN. Sunita is now able of annual turnover of six to seven lakhs Nepali rupees after registering her business. According to her, “The project showed me a new way forward. I found it easy to operate my business. I dared to walk in a new path that was not guaranteed. The project did not only help by providing technology, they also connected my products to the market. They are linked to Sana Hasta Kala, Sabah Nepal, and local markets. I used to work as an employee but now, I provide employment to seventeen other people. I am very happy and satisfied with my earnings”.

Her staff earn eight to nine thousand Nepali rupees a month. The demand of Dhaka Sari is quite high. To cater to this demand, she will need larger handlooms in near future. She is planning on saving her own money to invest in her business to expand smoothly. If she is not able to save enough money for these handlooms, she is hopeful she will receive helping hands from her community. Sunita has complete trust in her community members, who are proud of her hard work. She is well trusted to receive loans from local banks too.

Despite the destruction by earthquake, Sunita is very proud of the way she has turned her life around. She has now become an entrepreneur and generates income for herself.

Sunita, like many other women, got opportunity to improve her livelihood with the support from Sustainable Livelihood Support Project. The project has provided support directly to 8,009 earthquake affected families in Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur district. The project provided business management skills, production skills, tools and technology support, link the producers/entrepreneurs with market and financial institutions to promote micro and small enterprises. The project works to promote 10 product lines: Ginger processing, Lapsi (Nepali hog plum) processing, Lokta paper (Nepali Handmade paper) processing, Leather processing, Knitting, Weaving, Tailoring, Felt, Ceramics and Wood carving. Oxfam has supported Fair Trade Group Nepal (FTGN) to established Uddhyamshala as a wing of FTGN and also supported to promote Market Outlet named SAARC Chamber Craft Village (SCCV) where buyers can find the fair trade products produced by the producers.

Contact detail:

SAARC Chamber Craft Village

Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal

Phone No: 01-5523766