Story from Bajhang under Resilient Livelihoods
Anju Khati, 40, is now an entrepreneur from Bajhang. Dreaming big, hard-working Anju spends her time in the traditional handloom weaving and selling yarn.
A few years back, things got tough for Anju’s family. Her husband lost his job in India during the COVID pandemic. Also, two years ago, the flood swept away Anju’s cultivable land with only a tiny patch, left for the family. The produce from the field was not enough and her husband’s earnings were not sufficient to feed their family of seven.
Facing such hardships, Anju was looking for an alternative income source. Around the same time, UMN’s Srijana Project launched its activities in her community. A ward-level discussion led to exploring the potential of weaving Allo for local enterprise. Allo is a Himalayan nettle found in large supply in this area. The project then facilitated forming an allo fibre processing enterprise group where Anju joined. Fourteen members including Anju were provided with 15 days of allo fibre thread processing skill training followed by 22 days of skill training for cloth weaving.
Through the project, Anju received three months of on-the-job training to scale up her weaving skills in coordination with a well-established allo fibre enterprise at Ghorahi in Dang District. Since then, she has been weaving cloth using a traditional handloom. So far, she has produced 32 metres of allo yarn and earned about NPR 17,000 (USD 130). The enterprise group has two sub-groups - one weaves cloth and the other sews bags. Anju sells raw materials to those sewing bags. The group is now registered legally and has their own equipment- two handlooms and five sewing machines.
The income from weaving has helped Anju to buy her children’s school stationery, clothing, and food. She shared, “I have been trying my best in this business. I dream to be established as a model woman entrepreneur. If I get closer to my dream, I will call my husband back from India and continue this business together with him. I’m grateful for all the support I have received to come this far.”
- Srijana Project provided NPR 110,000 (USD 840) for cloth weaving enterprise start-ups and for bag sewing training.
- The project encouraged the Office of Cottage and Small Industry (CSIO) in Bajhang to contribute NPR 669,550 (USD 5,108) towards the allo enterprises.
- During the last three years, 650 migrant returnee youth and their families received support for small enterprise start-ups.