Oxfam helping people stitch in time

Raju Bishwokarma stitching clothes using his new electric sewing machine. Photo by: Animesh Rai/Oxfam

Raju Bishwokarma stitching clothes using his new electric sewing machine. Photo by: Animesh Rai/Oxfam

"I purchased sewing machine, table and some raw materials for my business”
Sabita Maharjan

Animesh Rai in Dhading and Rikita Maharjan, Kathmandu

"I did not expect that I would be alive as I was completely under the rubble of my house," recalls Sabita Maharjan her experience of the 2015 earthquake.  She survived along with her husband but lost property.

The couple stayed at a relative’s place while they constructed a temporary shelter through supports received from the government. Their next challenge was to generate income as their sewing machine was destroyed by the earthquake and they could not continue their work as tailors. A few months passed by surviving with supports received from various development agencies but wasn’t able to restart their business until she got some positive news from Oxfam and its partner, DEPROSC (Development Project Service Center) were helping people restart their lost businesses through Cash grant of Rs 24,000.

"I purchased sewing machine, table and some raw materials for my business,” she says adding, “I also got training on effectively running businesses.” It did not take her long to bounce back; she revived her business and doubled her income—from about Rs 4000 per month (before earthquake) to Rs 8000 now. "I wouldn't have revived my business without this support,” she says thankfully. Oxfam and its partners have helped revive businesses of nearly 500 households in Kathmandu Valley.

Raju Bishwokarma (name changed) who comes from a socially marginalized community in Dhading has a similar story to share. He too lost his sewing machine, which was helping him earn a living, in the earthquake of 2015.  Oxfam and its partner Action Nepal provided him a petty trader grant of Rs 15000. He made a wise decision and added extra Rs 15,000 to purchase an electric sewing machine that would stitch more in less time.

The machine has doubled the income source of his family and he has also been able educate his small children. He now plans to engage his wife in the business by buying her a new sewing machine.

Petty Trader Grant falls under the Cash Grant for Small Medium and Micro Enterprise, aimed at helping people restart their businesses affected by earthquake. Oxfam and its partners have helped 345 Households through this grant in Dhading district alone.