CANDLES OF HOPE
Battimaya is of old age and lives in a small mud house with her son, his wife and their children in remote village of Nawalparasi . Just like most of the villages in Nepal, Nawalparasi houses many families that are struggling to join their hands and mouth. Battimaya Sunar was one of many such women.
She says that she was not only worried that she was unable to generate any income for her family, but also because she was idle most of the days.
But with the help of Asal Chhimekee Nepal, a group named “Pragati” was formed in her village where the group was encouraged to start a saving and credit scheme.
Battimaya being one of the executive members of the group, participated in various events of the group. She also engaged herself in a candle-manufacturing training.
Being an old- aged woman, farming or other activities like tailoring was difficult for her. Making candles, though not easy, was right for Battimaya and selling them would help her make some money for herself. At first, she hesitated to start the business thinking that she was not quite capable but with a lot of encouragement from the group members and ACN staff, she thought of giving it a try. And so, she took help of fund from her Self-Help Group and bought herself a cast for making candles. Things have taken a swift advance since then.
Now, she often takes the opportunity to market and sell her candles to anybody who goes to visit her but also takes her candles to the local shops and sells them.
Nepal has a long sessions of power-cuts, candles are important goods in the villages of Nepal and has a fairly good market.
Battimaya does not sell candles at an industrial scale but she says that the business has been able to embed some new perspectives to her life and she has future plans to grow the business into higher levels one step at a time. She says she is content with taking the decision to start the candle- making business.
Saving and credit groups have become a great boon for the village economy. In Nepal, it has promoted the habit of saving and also has encouraged people to try out their micro- enterprise of their interest. Apart from this, there are many stories of people who have changed their personalities from shy and house- limited to dynamic and social.
Many stories like Battimaya encourage us and many like us that the changes that are occurring are slow but gradual and with a combined effect of many like us, the transformation of our society is just in the nearest horizon.