GNI Nepal started working in former Patharaiya Village Development Committee (VDC) in Kailali District in 2007 by sponsoring thirty children. Majority of the inhabitants are Tharu ex-bonded laborers (kamaiya) and squatter families that migrated from the hills and mountains in the north.
Initially, all 330 households in Patharaiya VDC were supported with materials to build tube-wells. All beneficiary households contributed labor and collected earth, bricks, and stones. Earlier, one tube-well served ten households.
Ful Kumari Tharu, former Project Management Committee Chair, enumerated GNI Nepal’s supports as follows, “Our (1342) children got education (up to tenth grade). They, otherwise, would be roaming the forests and swimming in the streams all day long. GNI Nepal organized health camps regularly for people and domestic animals all these years. With the support of GNI Nepal, two motorable bridges, three kilometers of gravel road, five basic schools, one vaccination center, one cooperative building and one mom-center were constructed, and 18 families received support to build home bio-gas plants.”
The mom-center was a hub for organizing different awareness raising activities, early childhood education and development (ECED) classes, and long-term vocational skills training programs for women of the surrounding communities.
About the good changes that have happened, Ful Kumari had this to say, “Our kids worked as kamlaris (maidservant) in nearby towns, bazaars, and Kathmandu. After GNI Nepal came here, these kamaiya parents also became aware and they brought their kids back and enrolled them in school with GNI Nepal’s support.”
760 girls were enrolled in GNI Nepal’s child sponsorship program and a large majority of these girls have gone on to study up to ten plus two. They, otherwise, would have ended-up with a life of servitude and back-breaking labor just like their bonded laborer mothers. In addition, parents were also offered adult literacy classes.
GNI Nepal also supported the construction of five school buildings along with toilets, establishment of science lab, computer lab, and library at nine schools, furnishing of three schools, and fencing of one school boundary.
In former Patharaiya VDC, GNI Nepal supported the formation of an agricultural cooperative and its building construction. So far, GNI Nepal has provided NRs. 4,203,852 to this cooperative as revolving fund. At the end of 2017, share money and savings amounted to NRs. 766,000 and NRs. 1,062,030 respectively. GNI Nepal also supported the cooperative to install a computer-based accounting system. At present, it has a share-membership of 508 (160 females and 348 males). Among the members, 210 have received cooperative education training and 94 have received entrepreneurship development training.
Majority of the cooperative members are rearing pigs, keeping small grocery stores, and engaged in agriculture. In total, 135 share members have started enterprises: 17 – agriculture, 79 – animal husbandry, 39 – cycle repairing shop, retail store, beauty parlor, etc. Among them, 25 received vocational skills training before starting their enterprises.
Ful Kumari, emphatically expressed, “GNI has been supporting our children to study up to grade ten and helping us to develop our community for such a long time now”.