Ex-combatant turns digital photographer

Krishna Chaudhary’s education came to a complete halt when she had to join the Maoist army at the age of 18. She joined the army because she was frustrated with the social and economic environment at home and she spent four years of her precious life as a combatant hoping for a bright future.

In 2010, she was discharged from the cantonment in the category of Verified Minors and Late Recruits (VMLRs). Her family accepted her back, but she found it challenging to pursue a new career outside the cantonment. Her efforts to rejoin school did not work because she did not feel comfortable being in the same class with students who were much younger than her.

Then, Krishna learnt about the support provided by the UN Interagency Rehabilitation Programme (UNIRP), a joint initiative of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and ILO to ex-combatant like her. She opted for digital photography training under the micro-enterprise option. Upon completion of the training, Krishna received support equivalent to Rs. 30,000 to start up her own enterprise.

Today, Krishna is working as an assistant at a digital photo studio in Bansgadi, 30 kms away from Banke, Nepalgunj and is earning about Rs. 3000 per month. She takes pictures, helps in processing photos and supports in other administrative works. She aspires to soon open up her own shop in partnership with another ex-combatant who has a mobile repair shop in Dailekh district. The two also plan to get married soon.

Krishna says "I am very happy that I got an opportunity to receive this training. I love my job and intend to take up a refresher course. I am receiving a lot of support from my family to start a new life."