Meeting the challenges of poverty with determination: The story of Ms. Parbati Devi
November 2005; Parbati was left destitute when her husband passed away. The onset of difficulties was so grave that even organizing a ftting funeral to her husband was challenging for her. She had three children to feed and attend to. The sudden turn of events was so devastating that she seemd to have lost all hopes. Then one day things seemed to turn for better. She saw a light at the end of the tunnel, when Rithe Gaunda TLO (Tole/Lane Organisation, a community-based organisation) was formed in her Tole near the radio station in ward No. 15 of Pokhara Sub Metropolitan City. Amid such difficult times, she became a member of the TLO and took part in a meeting held to work out Enterprise Development Plan. During the deliberations in the meeting she saw an opportunity to start a small enterprise selling vegetables and fruits, which she will buy from near by villages and Krishi Upaj Bazaar Kendra.
Her request for a loan of NRs.5,000 was approved by PDC (Partnership Development Committee of Pokhara municipality supported by RUPP) after she took part in Enterprise Management Training provided by the Programme. She now sells seasonal vegetables and fruits in Chipledhunga area of Pokhara municipality. She has also set up a small vegetable shop at her hut in the Tole where she resides, which her daughter looks after. Thanks to the training that she received from the programme on Enterprise Management, she thinks growth to be the key and as such has even expanded her areas of operation to include small scale wholesaling - bringing oranges from Damauli and then selling them in Pokhara. Her average sales per month is around NRs.30,000 and on average manages to make a profit of about NRs.4,500 - a considerable sum that could earn her a relatively comfortable living and even enable her to send her daughter to school. She is very encouraged by the profits she makes and is now planning to upgrade from selling in doko (basket) to thela (push-cart) which would enable her to increase the volume of her retail sales. She also sees an opportunity knocking when the roadside market at the Gairapatan moved to a new location managed by the private sector as facilitated by RUPP. She has requested the Programme to secure her a permanent place in this new retail vegetable and fruit market. For Parbati, gone are the days when she had to beg around to keep her children and herself from starvation. Not surprisingly today, when she is asked ?Ke chha, Parbati halkhabar? (?How are you, Parbati??), she is full of praise for ?Sajhedari? (?Joint effort?) as RUPP is popularly known in her Tole for motivating the community in developing self managed enterprises leveraging the aptitude and potentials of community members.