We Can Work It Out

Ramesh (name changed), 10, lives with his mother in Purbichauki Rural Municipality, Doti District. He is a single child, a third grader at Bhawani Basic School, and a sponsored child of GNI Nepal since 2011. His family owns approximately 0.13 acres (1 ropani) of land where rice and millet can be grown. Ramesh’s father while working in Mumbai, India as a daily wage laborer contracted HIV. Out of their 0.26 acres (two ropani) agricultural land, Ramesh’s mother Rammaya sold half of it for seven thousand rupees to a neighbor for her husband’s treatment. Despite her efforts and hope, he passed away. At two years of age, Ramesh was orphaned. Rammaya had to deal with a double whammy: the chief breadwinner of the family was gone and unbeknownst to her, she had also gotten infected. She was an AIDS patient now.

Even though with fragile health, she carried on as she had to feed, clothe, and shelter her son and herself. She labored in other people’s farms for a small wage and the work was seasonal. Rammaya could not provide stationery, books, school uniform to Ganesh and pay his school fees. And, Ramesh would also not go to the school regularly. Not working was not an option, as there were no extended family members or relatives who could help her. Her health condition would not permit extended periods of hard work, so, she wanted to raise goats but had no money. Membership of an income generation group or cooperative could have enabled her to receive monetary assistance but Rammaya was so poor that she even did not have the money to pay the small membership fee.

In 2016, under the sponsorship service program’s gift money scheme Ramesh received one goat, a shirt, pants, jacket, rice, bucket, cooking pot, jug, cooking oil, bathing, and washing soap. In 2017, he received a jacket, shirt, pants, rice, cooking oil, and cooking pots. Along with the gifts, Ramesh received exercise books, pencils, eraser, sharpener, geometry box, school uniform, shoes, and bag each year as regular educational support.

The goat kidded four times in two years and produced eight babies. Rammaya sold six goats for NRs. 24,000 and bought back the land that she had sold for her husband’s treatment. Now, the family has three goats and one among them is pregnant. This family of two now has their basic needs met. Rammaya has been taking the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for the last seven years and fortunately Ramesh is not infected with HIV. Rammaya does not toil in her neighbors’ farms and Ramesh is also going to school regularly and plans to become a good teacher at the school in his village. Rammaya has joined a GNI Nepal supported cooperative and is planning to increase the number of goats.

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