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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Women in Nepal working together to lift their families out of poverty

Self-help groups provide women with opportunities to expand their capabilities and begin their journey out of poverty in a sustainable, self-directed manner.

Santa Maya Bayalkoti is among a group of women in Dobato, Sindhupalchwok, Nepal who are working together to transform their lives and community.

The earthquake of 2015 destroyed all Santa Maya’s meagre possessions. But it took more than Santa Maya’s possessions, it took away opportunities for her to move beyond surviving.

Following the earthquake, Santa Maya received emergency relief supplies, as well as medicine, clothes, and a shelter for her family.

Later, Santa Maya joined the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group as it was being formed, and participated in adult education programs, training, and a loan program managed by the group. The training, along with a small loan from the group’s loan fund, enabled Santa Maya to begin vegetable farming and goat raising. More recently, Santa Maya received training in raising poultry and buffalo. Today, she sells eggs and buffalo milk at the local market, giving her a stable, sustainable weekly income.

Santa Maya and the other women in the self-help group she joined after the earthquake are transforming their lives through their own efforts and through mutual support. Santa Maya’s life is much different than it was after the disaster. Today, her family is thriving, and she is even able to contribute to the savings fund of her self-help group each month.

Santa Maya continues to be the author of her journey out of poverty.

“Thank you for giving me the confidence and support to start something of my own”, says Santa Maya.

Self-help groups, like the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group in Dobato, function as microloan programs, but provide much more than financial assistance. They also create a community of women who encourage, support, and inspire each other to succeed in their journey out of poverty.