Bahadur Ram Tamata, 23, a permanent resident of Malikarjun Rural Municipality, Darchula District lives with his parents, a brother, and two sisters. For a home, the Tamata family owns a small hut, and for agriculture, a small patch of 0.26 acres (two ropani) infertile land whose produce barely lasts them six months. Tamata is a Dalit (untouchable) sub-caste. They traditionally fulfilled the role of village ironsmith and in return for their services each client household paid them in-kind. Bahadur Ram’s family was also into iron metal-works and received food grains for their service. He including his parents also worked as daily wage laborers.
Not due to the lack of will or ability but abject poverty, he could not continue his studies after tenth grade. Despite his interest and energy, work was nowhere to be found, driving him into bouts of anxiety and despair. Bahadur’s younger sister was enrolled in the sponsorship service program of Good Neighbors International Nepal and periodically got school supplies, counseling and guidance, affording the family a financial respite. Meanwhile, he got a chance to participate in a GNI Nepal funded pre-cooperative formation awareness raising and financial literacy program conducted in his village. The program introduced him to ideas about how to earn and save money and look for alternative ways of livelihood.
Bahadur Ram often visited a GNI Nepal supported cooperative in his locality; there he got the idea of starting his own business. He also urged his father to become a member of the cooperative. As he had made-up his mind on opening-up a hairdressing saloon, he made a formal request to the cooperative, GNI Nepal supported him to do a two month training in mid-2017. He also participated in an entrepreneurship development training conducted by GNI Nepal in his locality. From GNI Nepal supported saving and credit cooperative, he got a revolving fund support of NRs. 24,385, grant of NRs. 10,451, and started a hairdressing saloon at Seemalgairal Bazaar in Malikaarjun Rural Municipality. It is a place of religious significance having a secondary school, police post, health post, and a busy market area. Hairstyling services are absolutely new for this small and surrounding bazaars. Hence, a major source of attraction and interest among villagers.
He serves around five persons daily, earns around NRs. 7500 monthly, Bahadur Ram is satisfied with the pace his business is growing and has money to spend on daily household expenses. In his own words, “First of all, I would like to thank all who directly and indirectly encouraged me to start this business. I hope the same kind of support, encouragement, and motivation will continue to come my way in the coming days as well … and I also have a feeling of being employed now”. Bahadur Ram plans to add to his range of services from haircuts and face-shaving to massages and facials, which given his sole presence in the bazaar is likely to attract more customers and make him more money.