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Financial Literacy - Encouraging people to find alternative livelihood options

Figure 1: Process of making rope.

The majority of the population living in the western plain of Nepal are Tharu communities. The poor people from Tharu communities have been struggling for their basic needs for generations and even used to work as bonded labourers for their landlords. They were always deprived of education, skills and opportunities. Eventually, the Government of Nepal freed the bonded labourers and created some opportunities. However, the girls and women from the Tharu communities still could not benefit from these opportunities.

Figure 2: Prepared to sell the rope.

Phulrani Tharu and Mewarani Chaudhary are two women who represent such a community. They are 26 and 20 years old respectively, living in Binauna of Banke district. Due to the poor economic conditions in their village, they were forced to work for their landlords. There was no hope of education for these girls, because they had to keep working to feed their families. Following the trend of society, they got married in their teenage years and now they have children, husband and in-laws in their home.

Their lives were still full of boundaries. They had the same struggle for basic necessities and now they had to live at the discretion of their in-laws and husbands. Though they had been doing what they could for the economic support of their families, they did not have any money saved for their future. Phulrani and Mewarani participated in the financial literacy training implemented by Mercy Corps under the DFID SAFAL project. Both women actively participated in the 26-day training and found themselves embracing different knowledge and attitudes, and decided to practice new skills and knowledge they acquired through the training.

Figure 3: Phulrani Tharu-left and Mewarani
Chaudhary-right with their flt certificates.

Both women joined a microfinance group formed by NUBL. As they did not have any money for saving, they had not been able to gain membership in any other groups. But the financial literacy training made them aware of the importance of saving and access to finance. So, they created their own source of income.

They started a rope-making business using local materials and indigenous skills. Phularani says, “It needs a lot of time and hard work to prepare a rope, but we are now committed to rope-making as a business. It’s better to do hard work and get a little, than to work for others as a slave for nothing.” They are sure that they can make enough money for their regular savings. Since Phularani and Mewarani now have access to credit, they are planning to expand the rope-making business, but want to gain confidence in selling the ropes first. The struggle, dedication and attitude of Phulrani and Mewarani towards saving and succeeding are now examples to their community.

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