Somati Chaudhary, 49 is from Narayanpur VDC of Kailali district in Nepal’s picturesque far-western plains. Because she comes from a family of 23 people, she wasn’t able to go to school. Her family arranged for her to get married at the age of 16 to Raju Prasad Chaudhary. Raju, like Somati and most others from the Tharu community, belonged to a large family of 18 members. After their marriage, their days were spent in the field. Over time, they had 7 children, six daughters and one son. Although they could not afford to send their children to school, Somati was feeding her children by kitchen gardening on a tiny piece of land.
Somati became a member of United Youth Community Nepal (UNYC) Nepal’s ‘Sahansheel Women Borrowers Group’ on June 2015. The group was managed by the Narayanpur branch of UNYC Nepal, and was established with the support of Sakchyam, a DFID Nepal Access to Finance initiative. Even with the money she was making from her vegetable farming, Komati was living below the poverty line. Therefore, with the intent of expanding their vegetable farming to increase household income, Somati successfully applied for a collateral free loan of NPR 30,000 ($300). With this, the husband wife duo were able to lease additional land to farm vegetables enabling them to make a daily profit of NPR 1000 to NPR 1500 ($10-$15). Somati admits that this has enabled them to manage daily household expenses with more ease, send their children to a local primary school after setting aside money to pay loan instalments.
“I recognized the value of community after becoming a member of UNYC Nepal’s borrowers group. This also gave me the confidence to start my own vegetable farm.” says Somati.
(Text: Sushmita Chaudhary, UNYC Nepal)