Bhim BK (32 years) lives in Meltoli village of Ladagada VDC, Doti District with his wife and three children– one son and two daughters. From the age of 16 to 32 years, he worked in India as a laborer, visiting his family once every two years. Meanwhile, he got married and had kids. His wife took care of the family while he was away.
16 years of drudgery in a foreign land did not make his life any better. Somehow he managed to get by and send a small amount of money home every few months. For a daily wage earner like him saving money was impossible. To make things more difficult, there was no job security. He wouldn’t have work every day nor had a consistent pay. He recalls, “Is my life going to be like this forever, I wondered often. I got really anxious every now and then”. Anxious he may get but there was no alternative to that life of blood and sweat.
Over the phone, his wife would share the family’s condition back at home and her worries regarding the children’s future, as the children had reached school age. One time, she emphatically informed him about GNI Nepal’s livelihood support projects being implemented in their village. After this conversation with his wife, he saw income generating opportunities in his village itself.
With a firm determination to do something on his own and in his own village, he returned home permanently in 2013, before the Dashain festival. At this point, his village had changed immensely. Every household was involved in different income generating activities. He came to know about ‘Srijansil Vegetable Farming Group’ and shortly afterward joined it.
In October 2013, he started seasonal and off seasonal vegetable farming in one ropani of land. GNI Nepal provided him financial support for purchasing improved vegetable seeds, materials for building a poly-house with drip irrigation system and garden pipe. Technical support was also provided to him by the organization. Later on, he increased the land under cultivation to about 3.5 ropani.
He sells the vegetables at the local market and earns a good income. Almost four thousand rupees per month is mostly spent in buying food, medicines, clothes, and on the children’s education. Apart from the household expenses, he has been able to save forty thousand rupees in the village cooperative. He saves money on a monthly basis and borrows only if he needs.
“I am just one example among many in our VDC. About 40-45 farmers are engaged in vegetable farming in this VDC. Now, there are different groups in the VDC for vegetables, ginger & turmeric production”, he says.
His message for everybody like him, “Involve yourself in some income generating activity in the motherland and live happily with your family. Do not go to foreign countries seeking employment”.