Quake-hit micro entrepreneurs see ray of hope

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 22, 2016-

Meena Basel lost her house and Dhaka weaving cottage industry—her only source of livelihood—in the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015. 

Basel, 21, was in desperate need of money both to rebuild her home in Ramechhap and resume weaving business. 

Thanks to Rapid Enterprise and Livelihoods Recovery Project (RELRP) run by UNDP in assistance from the Australian government, Basel has now set up her weaving tools and is again running her small scale business and contemplating rebuilding her house with the money earned.

“I needed to revive my source of livelihood more than ever to get back to normal life. And now, I am happy to be working and providing jobs to others from my neighbourhood,” said Basel.

In June last year, RELRP began its work to reach out to quake-affected micro entrepreneurs like Basel to help them get back on their feet. The project supported 12,059 such  entrepreneurs in seven severely districts: Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchok, Kavre, Dolakha, Ramechhap and Sindhuli. The RELRP helped people set up cattle farming, vegetable framing, provide sewing machine, among others, by rebuilding 81 vital community infrastructure like irrigation canals, cooperative buildings, drinking water and agricultural facilities.

Over a year, as well as achieving its target the project created 1,500 new micro entrepreneurs in those districts. “A lot of people with skills had asked us for support to revive their source of livelihood. Now, we can say we have been able to hone their skills and create new job opportunities as well,” said Yam Kumari Khatiwada, joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry.

Khatiwada stressed that providing livelihood to quake victims is as important as rebuilding their houses as it helps them get back to normal life.

The beneficiaries of the programme are mostly people from the marginalised community living below the poverty line. Around 70 percent of them were women, which Dalits comprise 30 percent, indigenous nationalities (40pc), unemployed youths (60pc) and Madhesis (40pc).

Speaking on the occasion, UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer said reconstruction should not only focus on buildings but also on rebuilding their lives and livelihoods.  

 Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority Sushil Gyewali said there is huge potential for employment creation in the construction sector and the NRA has a target to prepare at least 25,000 masons and skilled workers in three months.

Published: 22-06-2016 09:55

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