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A Journey to Self-employment

Heera Khatri, 38 years old, lives in Ramnagar of Madhuban Municipality in an extended family consisting of her husband, two sons, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. For a relatively large family, the size of the agricultural land they own is miniscule (approximately two kattha or 0.16 acres).

Having six mouths to feed, Heera’s husband went to India in 2000 and started working as a security guard. He received a monthly salary of NRs. 10,000. Due to the lack of adequate money, back at home, Heera struggled to fulfill the basic needs of her family. Even buying stationery and uniform for her two sons on time would be a major feat for her. Try as she might but she could not help her husband financially—neither she had any vocational skills nor any savings to start a small business.

In 2012, Heera’s youngest son was enrolled in GNI Nepal’s child sponsorship program which came as a financial relief to the impoverished family. Meanwhile, Heera also became a member of GNI Nepal funded income generating (IG) group.

Meanwhile, Heera’s husband struggled in India for fourteen years. In 2014, upon returning from India permanently, he opened a bicycle repair shop with the little amount of money he had saved over the years. As a side-business, he also started trading buffaloes. However, it was intermittent. As both businesses were low volume and did not make the Khatri family enough money, life was still difficult for them.

In late 2014, through a GNI Nepal supported local cooperative, she received NRs. 42,000 seed money and an additional NRs. 18,000 loan for building a small poultry house and buying equipment. GNI Nepal supported Junior Technical Assistants (JTA) provided her technical assistance.

Heera’s chicken farm started off with a batch of 400 broiler chicks. Around 48 chicks died in a period of two months. This loss brought home to the Khatri couple, the importance of healthy feeding practices and sanitary environment in raising chickens. The first batch generated NRs.194,000  in sales and a net profit of NRs. 30,500. In another six months, they earned Rs. 122,300 in profits selling the chickens and the manure produced by them.

Now, the Khatri duo has a monthly income averaging NRs. 15,000. Although not much compared to well-off families in the neighborhood, this small income has now significantly improved their standard of living. With financial empowerment has come gender empowerment as well. Heera who was earlier confined to domestic chores and farm work now runs the entire business with occasional assistance from her husband. To supplement their current income they also trade water buffaloes.

Heera’s elder son, Ramesh, is about to complete high school (Grade 12). He is still in his teens but despite his young age, he has already started taking care of the distribution side of the business in the areas nearby. Heera can afford him higher education but he wants to become a poultry farmer like his parents. He is planning to get an advanced training in poultry farming after he finishes high school. This plan of Ramesh both Heera and her husband approve of.

Now, the Khatri family does not suffer financial woes that haunted them throughout the year in the recent past. With a stable and handsome monthly income, Heera has been repaying her installment loans regularly. As the business is proving profitable, Heera wants to expand it to 10,000 chicks raising capacity.

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