A Woman of Courage
Story from Nawalparasi under Resilient Livelihoods
Sunita Chaudhary, a mother with five daughters, couldn’t celebrate her children’s birthdays as she would have wished. She lived in a society in Nawalparasi West where preference for a boy child over a girl is deeply entrenched. She was blamed by the villagers for giving birth only to daughters and they even considered her to be a bad omen.
Like many women in her village, Sunita could have also become weak and resigned, but she was courageous. She decided to abandon her community and along with her five daughters, shifted miles away from that village. Seeing this kind of rare courage, her husband supported her too. But the biggest worry for Sunita was about sustainability, not only for her but also for her daughters.
Sunita is a fighter. Even though life was incredibly hard, she didn’t hold back. First, she built a small house and opened a general store to earn enough for her daily expenses. But still, even if she managed to cover the basic needs of life, she desperately wanted her daughters to get educated; the fire inside her to prove that daughters are no less than sons was still burning strongly. So, to ensure her daughters received an education, she started a small poultry and goat farm using a bank loan. Later she also tried to start a fishpond, but renting a pump would cost about NPR 10,000 (USD 78) a month. This was a very high cost when there was also pressure to pay the rising monthly bank installment on her loan. During the COVID pandemic, the situation became much harder. However, UMN’s RECOV Project with partner INDRENI* heard her story and handed over an electric pump free of cost to Sunita. This not only saved her thousands of rupees, but also helped her to stock the fishpond. With the additional fish farm income, she could pay for her daughters’ education and cover the monthly the bank instalments.
Sunita is now full of hope with her fish farming business, as the demand for fish is high in her area. Through her earnings, she has even been able to send her husband abroad for work. Although she is now left alone with her daughters and ailing father-in-law, with no other relatives or familiar people around, she is busy running the general store, and her poultry, goat, and fish farming. She has fought for her freedom and for her daughters. Sunita has come a long way and proven that she is indeed a woman of courage.
*Indreni Social Development Forum (INDRENI)