I no longer need to ask my husband for money
October 2006; 'We did not know that our baskets could draw so much of interest among the tourists who come to Lumbini,' says Birma Bindravati Tharu, a local resident of Rupandehi, Madhubani village.
Traditionally the handicrafts women made out of wild grass were used only as gifts for dowry in Rupandehi. But the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation
Programme has helped women in the area to develop these handicrafts into products for sale to foreign visitors.
Today the traditional dowry gifts like dhakiya and mauni are beginning to fetch extra income for lots of women like Birma.
Birma says the guidance and training provided by the Programme has brought about ideas of refinement and finishing of the products which has greatly increased their market value.
Today, Birma's handicraft is being ordered nationally as well as internationally.
She makes dhakki (deep trays), tea-mats, brush-holders, pen-holders and bouquet-holders.
These days, during her free time, Birma teaches this skill not only to her sister-in-laws, but also to the women from the neighborhood.
'Although in the beginning I was mainly engaged in agriculture, this is no longer my only occupation, and I no longer need to ask my husband for money,' says Birma.