Skill Training for Women in Saptari

This is a joint fundraiser between Nepal Rising  (Daayitwa US) and Stories of Nepal  to provide Skills Training  and Resilience program for Musahar Flood Victims of Nepal.

Piprapurba, Kanchanroop, ward no. 5 in Saptari is a village in Nepal nearby the western embankment of Koshi River. Dalits constitute the majority in the ward, of whom Musahar community is the largest inhabitants. Of the 40 Musahar households, only four have houses in their own land. Rest of them are on government land and rely on tenant farming. Only one person from the whole village managed to undertake the SEE examination this time. 

The Musahar community is marginalized and is plagued by poverty and illiteracy. We feel it is important to make the Musahar community self-reliant through skills training to improve their overall economic, educational and social condition.  Towards that end,  we have identified 2 programs :

- Sewing Training for 16 women; each trainee will receive a sewing machine and materials after the training
- Muda-making Training for 30 women; each trainee will receive bamboo and materials after the training

Nepal Rising has already provided the funds for the Sewing Training through the Monsoon Flood Relief fundraiser organized last year.

Additional funds are needed for the Muda (Stool) training, on-site monitoring and seed money for follow-on income-generating activities.  The seed money will be provided to the trainees through Stories of Nepal to jump-start their enterprises.
 
The following are some of the beneficiaries of this campaign featured by Stories of Nepal. Thank you so much for being part of the resilience story!

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"At home, there is violence and there are tears and muffled cries. And because I bore children, where I live and eat has become family. Home never is a happy place for me. My marriage was not my choosing but a result of the Maoist conflict. I could not return to my parents. They would not take me in. For them, living away from the family had made me impure. Once in a while, I run into my mother and she hugs me but I could never go visit my father or my brother. The doors are closed for me. So I have nowhere to run to and cry. I only have my children to call mine. Two of them. And I have told my husband I do not want more. I do my best to raise them. Not so long ago, I received training in making stools through a government office. Today, I try and spend whatever time I get with the women in the community. I train them and this fetches me some income. Many of us share similar stories. Of poverty, of alcohol and beatings, of love for our children and the burden they are to become. But there are also times of great joy and laughter when all of us abandon our worries. There is still hope amongst us. Hope that our daughters will become educated women. And our sons, when married, treat their wives with respect. But it is not easy. It is not easy when they are raised seeing men oppress women. It is not easy when fathers greet their sons after school with the stench of alcohol in their breath and harshness in their words." (Budhni Devi Khang, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) *Budhni Devi Khang is one of our two trainers for Muda(Stool) Making. @nepalrising

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What an amazing community we all share here. We have crossed the mark of USD 5100 and I am confident that we will reach our goal of USD 6500 very soon. Once our goal is achieved, 46 other girls and women from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and Muda (Stool) Making. The raised fund could not only pave way for their financial independence through some extra income but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-enterprise.

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"Father did not send me to school. He sent me after the animals. My youth was spent doing only that. I got married and I am still running after the animals. Occasionally I find work and that is the only time I see money. My husband has left for the city to find work. He only sends money twice a year. It is hard for me to manage. I do not own property and neither does my husband. However, I pull here and I pull there. I push here and I push there. And I send all three of my daughters to school. I want them to live a life of happiness, the life I did not see. I do not want them to spend their lives running after the animals. You see, poor old father never sent me to school. He sent me running after the animals." (Phulo Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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I hope you consider contributing to this fundraising. We are steadily nearing our goal. Once achieved, Phulo Devi Sada and 45 other girls and women from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and Muda (Stool) Making. The raised fund could not only pave way for their financial independence through some extra income but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-enterprise.

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"It has been almost a year since mother died. I do not know if she died of old age or of illness. Towards the end of her life, she has started eating less. She remained quiet and neglected work. I knew she did not have the strength of her youth. The difficult life she has led took a toll on her and ultimately she gave up breathing. Without her, life feels strange. She left me alone to take care of my father and my brother. I cook for them and I do the dishes. I also wash their clothes every few days. And in between the house chore when I get a chance to straighten my back I think of the time I spend with mother. The things she said. It all comes back like she is still here. "Daughter, here, wear this. Daughter, here, eat this." She had even started planning about my marriage. "When you get married, do not forget your mother. You will visit me every once a week, won't you?" These memories are difficult to hold and talk about. After mother things have changed. I am the only one to in the house to take care of my father and my brother. And even if I get married someday, who is going to attend to the needs of the men in the family. They need me just like they needed my mother." (Bidhya Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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With over USD 4700 raised, we are very pleased that we are well on our way to achieving our goal of USD 6500 and we need you more than ever for this to happen. If we achieve our goal, Bidhya Devi Sada and 45 other women and girls from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and/or Muda (Stool) Making. The raised funds will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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#Repost @storiesofnepal
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"Sometimes, something takes over my body. Sometimes, something takes over my thoughts. It has been going on from when I was small. When I was fours months old, my elder sister had died. And the 'Dhamis' told my father about the possession. So to safeguard myself from harm, I wear an amulet that the Dhami has given me. I have to change it every 6 months. Recently, I visited a pregnant relative and the amulet became impure. So my body had started hurting. So now I will have to call the Dhami and do a puja again. The sacrifices and the puja cost money and I regret how my husband's hard earned money is being wasted. Because of my condition, I have not been able to be happy. If only I get well, I would be able to do many things. I could play with my daughter. I could run after her. I could even work for daily wages and bring money home. I could start saving for my daughter's future." (Kosila Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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We have advised Kosila Devi Sada to also consult a doctor in Rajbiraj or Biratnagar. We will be providing the necessary funds needed for her treatment. In the last 9 days, we have already raised USD 3700+. If we achieve our goal, Kosila Devi Sada and 45 other women and girls from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and/or Muda (Stool) Making. The raised funds will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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"I send these two to the nearby government school. I am not sure if there was one when I was their age. No one mentioned school around here back then. I do not think my father’s mind could understand the concept of education. So he told me to look after the kitchen, the animals and my brothers. And that is what I did. You do not question your father. By the age of 10, I had already started working alongside father in the landlord's field. By 15, I was already working alone and contributing to the family in whatever way I could. Back then, even after working 16 hours a day, I never saw money. I only brought back grains, whatever the rich and upper caste gave me. I got married into the same community so life did not see any change that one would expect. The only difference was I was not living with my father and mother but with my husband’s. Even today, I still continue working for daily wages but work is very limited. They two keep me busy with their demands for food and clothing and I spend my day tending to them. My husband is also a daily wage earner and he owns very little. No gold, no land. For both of us, our children are our possession and we try to save as much as we can. But sometimes the son get sicks and we have to dig into our savings. Sometimes, the flood comes in, the wall falls down and our savings return to nothing." (Babita Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari)

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We have raised USD 3300, half of our goal in just 7 days. If we achieve our goal, Babita Devi Sada and 45 other women and girls from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and/or Muda (Stool) Making. The raised funds will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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"My husband is in India. I do not know the conditions he is working in. In a foreign land, you cannot complain about the sun or the rain. When he called me last time, he told me he had been admitted to the hospital and his employer denied to pay for his treatment. The hospital's bills must have been an unnecessary burden for him. I understand his difficulties. The last time he was able to send money home was 4 months ago. With two daughters and a son, life had become difficult for me. Whenever the girls in my neighbour come calling for work, I go with them. Even a few hundred rupees can buy a few days of ration for us. With whatever I earn as wages, I had been keeping aside some money to recharge my phone so that I could call him and ask him about his heart and body. But like they say, 'where there is poverty, there are problems'. Recently, I lost my phone that my husband had gifted me. So these days, I have been waiting for my neighbour to return from work so that I could borrow her phone. And this arrangement has not worked. It has been over a week, I have not heard his voice and my heart has been telling me strange stories." (Mahawati Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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We have raised USD 2700 in just 6 days. Our goal is 6500 USD. If we achieve our goal, Mahawati Devi Sada and 45 other women and girls from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and/or Muda (Stool) Making. The raised funds will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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"Sometimes mother finds work and goes away until sundown. When she returns home she hands me the money she has made during the day. She tells me to save it for my son, for when he grows older. For times of emergency. Her love is not only towards her grandson. Mother also treats my husband as her own son. For he has also lived a life of an orphan. Mother knows how it feels to not have parents while growing up. That is why she takes care of all of us and keeps the family together. But I am worried about her. She does not take good care of herself. Maybe it is her age. Maybe it is her back that gives her trouble. It might also be that she is worried about my father who is failing every day. Maybe she is worried about her old days. But I tell her, we will always be there to take care of her. She tells me she knows that. But I can read her face. I think she is slowly getting tired. I think she is done planting rice for the landlords. I think she is tired sealing the leaks on her roofs." (Kajal Devi Sada & Manju Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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We have raised USD 1900 in just 4 days. Our goal is 6500 USD. If we achieve our goal, Kajan Devi Sada, Manju Devi Sada and 44 other women and girls from the community will receive vocational training in Sewing and/or Muda (Stool) Making. The raised funds will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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"I have seen mother break stones, carry weight heavier than her body and never tire. I have seen her pass out in exhaustion at the end of the day. Even then, she would make sure both my brothers were full and comfortable to sleep. She never had any money kept aside. It was the daily wages that she made that paid for the needs of my school. When I had no pen, chalk or papers, she would get it for me. After that, she would buy me a uniform so that the teacher did not beat me. One day she came home with a bicycle and said, "Now, you will reach school on time and you will not miss a lesson." That day, I cried because I could somehow understand and feel the pain she had to endure to get me a bicycle. She never said anything about it. With a straight face, she just asked me to do well in school and be happy. That day, I became stronger in my heart. That day I felt like I could do anything and achieve anything. I day I vowed I will give my mother all the happiness I can." (Sulekha Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari)

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Sulekha Devi Sada Baini expressed her interest in learning how to sew. She told me she would manage time after school and during weekends. Her mother opted for Muda (Stool) Making Training. You can now help fund the training of both the mother and daughter along with 44 other girls and women in Kanchanroop 5, Saptari. If we achieve our goal this will not only pave way for their financial independence but also provide for a minimum amount of seed-funding that will help kick-start their home-entreprise.

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(Part 1/2) "Both my sons are disabled. That is the source of my everyday worry. I know I cannot change things. Even the doctors couldn't. The medicines did not work nor any sacrifices to the goddess. I sit by the front yard and look at my sons. They can only walk but they are like heavy logs. The sight of my sons' struggle is unbearable, but how long can I cry. So instead of throwing myself in the corner in daylight with a heart full of sorrow and guilt, I keep myself busy tending to my sons' needs. The more I do for them, I feel better and sleeps comes at night. I have a daughter too and she helps me with the household chores. But she is going to school so I try not to disturb her homework from school. I have a lot of dreams for her. I also had dreams for my sons. But you see, not all dreams come true." (Sushila Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari) @nepalrising

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"From what I have heard, my mother was lynched by a mob. She was branded a 'Boksi'. They say I was just 12 days old. My mother's absence did not affect me because I never knew her presence. Sometime later father brought home another wife and they started their own family. We were abandoned. My poor sister did everything to make sure that I survived hunger, thirst and diseases. She was also the one who pleaded to a family asking for the son's hand in marriage for me. When I got married, things did not improve. My husband was also from a poor family of Dalits. So work automatically became limited because of this discrimination. When I had my daughter, we both were worried. We wanted to give her a comfortable life, the one that we could never live. So with my daughter in my back, I started working too. We needed the money. It was hard manual labour. But we both feel we have done the best we could. She is a grown woman now and she is married. And she lives with us with her husband. Because I could not see my mother and always wondered what it would have been like to have one, I made sure I was available for my daughter. We are like friends and unlike me, she knows a mother's presence. She knows when her husband shouts at her or her child tire her, she can come to me and share her sorrows." (Manju Devi Sada, Kanchanroop 5, Saptari)

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"I lost two babies before they were born. My inlaws did not take care of me. I had become too weak to prepare food or fetch water. My suffering was boundless. My body became hollow and my mind without thoughts. I was then possessed. My words lost meaning and my in-laws became crueller. So one day I ran away and came to my parents. I came back home. My mother cried when she saw me. They took me to a shaman and I started feeling better. The food was good and the water plenty. Some time had passed and my husband came to visit me. He expressed his love towards me and told me that he will live with me and raise a family. So he stayed back at my parents' village. Today we have three children together. My in-laws come to visit their grandchildren but they are still the same towards me. But because they are my husbands' family I pay my due respect and serve them clean meals before they depart. Life is not always easy for poor people like us. Raising my children is our current struggle. And because work is so scarce here, my husband has left for Kashmir to work. And we all miss him. I wish the children had their father with them to play with. I wish he was here so that I could take good care of him. I do not know if he is sleeping without a blanket or if he is eating cold stale food." (Rita Devi Sada)


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"Not long after my son was born, my husband got sick. We went to many doctors. They prescribed us bags full of medicines but their promises never came true. Alone, I struggled to feed my children. Hungry, sick and poor we were never happy. The floods would wash away our homes and what little grains we had saved. Every morning I would leave to the fields to work for the landlord who out of pity gave us this little piece of land so that I could shelter my family. It was after many years and many thousands of rupees we found out that he had Anemia. This ordeal stayed with us for not less than 5 years. When he got better, I fell ill. I had tuberculosis and then I had to go into surgery to fix my uterus. When I lay in bed for a few years, my daughter took on my responsibility of cooking, cleaning and feeding her father and brother. She would not leave me alone and eventually, she dropped out of school. My husband started going to work and my son to school. While I am a proud mother that my son became the first in the village to pass the SEE examinations, I am equally sad for my daughter. That is my biggest regret and I express that to her. And every time I cry for her she comes close to me and puts her arms around me. Every time I cry, she tells me she understands." (Satani Devi Sada)

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"Not so long ago, half my face was paralysed. My husband is still paying the loan that he took out for my treatment. He took me to a hospital in India. You see that was the first time in my life I set foot out of my village. They talk about Biratnagar, they talk about Janakpur. They talk of how close these towns are but I have not seen those places. Someone showed me a picture of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and I bowed down to him. The trip to India for my treatment cost my husband a fortune. He had to skip his work and the interest on the loan never stopped. I spend my days worrying about my husband. He is a hard working man. He has tried to provide for the family by working long hours and skipping lunch. He drives a tractor all day and comes home tired to us. I have four daughters and a son. The daughters are still at home and the son could not continue school because the money my husband earned was never enough. Today, my son works menial jobs, here and there. With so many mouths to feed things can sometimes get very tensed. During those times, I play with my grandson. And during those times, in that loud laughter, I forget all my troubles. I forget the loan and the scarcity. I even forget my displaced face." (Nirmala Devi Sada)

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"I stopped crying a long time ago. There were days when crying was the only way of finding some relief. The heart would feel unburdened. But crying never changed a thing. And when you are hungry, you do not cry. You just sit and stare at the sky. Life did not change for me even after marriage. In my husband's house, the only way to survive was to get work and bring wages back home. But the poor never got work. I never got work, my husband maybe worked a few days a month. The fireplace crumbled because there was no heat and the pots and pans housed cats and mice. Every morning, I searched for wild plants and we all ate it with water. The water did not come in bottles like the ones you see in the shops. But we all survived the ordeal. I have 4 girls and 2 boys. The girls are married today and the boys are working in different cities in India. They send money home and rice and lentils are no more a problem. The problem is how do we get out of the way we live, half buried in mud while rain drops on our foreheads. While the women sit at home waiting for their husbands working far away to come back to their children. It all makes me sad but I have stopped crying a long time ago." (Kala Devi Sada)

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"My son was in the 5th grade when my husband became mad. It happened without notice. People in the villages would come to visit. Some would whisper and some would shout. They would talk about the Gods and how we had angered them. My husband slowly stopped recognizing us. During that time, there was no way for him to work or bring home money. He lived with the walls and ate when hungry. His voice became foreign and his speech that of an animal. That decade I suffered. Because we were all starving, I had my children stop school. They started working for daily wages too. I remember I would count 30 rupees at the end of the day. Making my children stop school hurt me but I had no other options. I would go into the jungle and collect dry grass and sell it. The money that we made would mostly go towards the treatment of my husband. Some would suggest something and I would follow. I had hope that one day my husband would get better. It was only after 6 years, a man from the neighbourhood suggested that I sacrifice a buffalo and offer it at the Kankaalni Mai temple. I did, and in no time my husband started to regain his senses. He started to recognise us. Today, all of that feels like a bad dream but it was real then. Even though he goes to work today and I have my husband back, my children never went back to school. And that still troubles me. Was it my fault? Sometimes, I still feel that the Gods are still angry at us." (Simli Devi Sada)
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Nepal Rising 
Organizer
Round Rock, TX
Daayitwa Us (Nepal Rising) 
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