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Thapana Thapa waiting for an opportunity

Winter in Jumla is very harsh. Water freezes to ice, snow thick and deep. People love sitting by the fire in the morning and evening and like sitting under the sun during the daytime. But whatever the weather, women in Jumla wake up early in the morning to fetch water, collect firewood, and complete other household chores prior to sunrise. When other family members wake up, the women look after the children, cook for the family and work in field. However, even the cold weather and busy schedule doesn’t deter Thapana Thapa, as she and her group mate prepare for the savings group meeting every month as part of their routine work.

Thapana Thapa, Member, Gairagaun SRG Thapana in her grocery shop in Jumla

Thapana Thapa (35) is a resident of Katikswami VDC in Jumla. She is a mother of 5 children, four daughters and one son. I found her sitting to one side of the group and I was interested to talk to her. I came to know that she was having her monthly period and was not allowed to sit with the group on the rooftop where they were having their group meeting. Although she was not allowed to sit with the group, she arrived on time for the group meeting and was listening with curiosity. Thapana says she has one small shop from which she is earning a little, but which is hardly enough for the school tuition fees of her children, their clothing and household expenses. She added, “I wouldn’t have to ask for the money from my husband, if I was able to earn some more.

She is now interested in taking out a loan from Nirdhan Utthan Bank, which has expanded its financial services in Jumla with the support of Mercy Corps’ SAFAL project funded by DFID. She wants to make her shop a bit bigger so that she can make her life a bit easier as prices for everything in the market is increasing day by day.

In the meeting today, Thapana saved NPR 245 from her shop earnings. She says, “I always encourage other women to save, so that we can use that money for when we need it or whenever there’s an unexpected and sudden shock.” She has studied up to 8th grade, but she had to stop going to school when she got married and had children at an early age. She doesn’t want to see her children face the same problems she has faced in life and she wants her children to be educated. That’s why she has started saving money now in a savings account with Nirdhan Utthan Bank. She’s sure that the savings she’s making now will help realize her dream of a better life for her children.

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