Thirty liters of milk in kadai has three hundreds today
November 2005; Shyam Prasad Bhattarai, a participant of MEDEP in Treveni program location in Nawalparsi district says "I think if we do everything seriously and with perseverance, it will yield. I along with my wife work 16 hours a day." Despite having passed his School Leaving Certificate examination (grade ten) some fifteen years ago he did not have the income or employment opportunities in his village then. Being the eldest sibling in a family of 13 members, Shyam had no alternative but to leave for India in search for work. He returned home a year ago but with no money in his hand and once again unemployed. He came home as he had gone but he had the experience, skills and the recipe to make a success by playing with milk.
As part of MEDEP?s strategy to exploit available resources and skills based on demand and needs, Shyam Prasad Bhattarai became a target participant of the program. He was poor and living in poverty, he was in search for an opportunity to exploit his skills.
Having spent 15 years in India working in a sweet shop I felt I had the confidence to return home and start making a living by capitalizing on my skills and experience in working with milk and milk products. I came back home in August 1999 with hope and expectations. I had the confidence, the skill and the experience to start making a living to support my three daughters, a son and my wife. However, that was not to be, on the contrary my skills could not be exploited because I did not have the money. I did not have the confidence to start work by borrowing from moneylenders and there was no one to my rescue. I was unemployed for months, felt weak, lost my confidence and was helpless before I met Krishna Bhatta the Enterprise Development Facilitator of the MEDEP in Nawalparasi district. I was explained and briefed on the objectives and strategies of MEDEP and a light of hope rekindled in me because I felt I was within the criteria to fall under its program. I was living in poverty but I had the potentials to become an entrepreneur. I did not have access to resources and credit but I had the skills; and I was willing to initiate, make efforts and take risks.
Having studied my socio-economic status and my skills and potentials I was asked to be part of a group. Understanding the benefits I could derive from MEDEP to exploit my skills I joined the Jana-Kalyan group in Treveni where I met people who were just like me, they were all living on or below the poverty line. Some had the skills while others had the resources but lacked the skills to establish an enterprise. I was able to receive a credit of five thousand rupees from the Agriculture Development Bank through the program in February 2000 to establish a small stall to make Khuwa (a pure milk product- fusion between cheese and butter). Through the credit I received, I bought the equipment necessary to make Khuwa and budgeted enough money to buy milk to start my production. I started my micro-enterprise by making Khuwa of thirty liters of milk. In the six moths from the time I received the loan to date (August 2000) I have been able to generate an income equal to ten times the loan I received through the program. With unequivocal support from MEDEP and its committed staff I have been able to increase my volume of production from 30 liters to 300 liters in six months. At the cost of not sounding modest, I also take pride to say that I contribute to the income generation of some 200 neighbours-farmers when I buy their milk for my business every day. I started my business with the help of my wife, but with the increase in the volume of my business I have three people working for me today, helping in my own way to generate employment in my village.
MEDEP and me
Today I am an entrepreneur and I have a good income, I am able to support my family and I indirectly help 200 farmers in income generations (backward linkage). This has only been possible because of the support MEDEP has provided me through its program. I started off without any investment; MEDEP helped me get access to a loan to get my business running. I had difficulties in buying firewood needed for by business; the program recommended and requested the district forest office to help me. I did not have access to information or know the market for my product and their value. I received and continued to receive support and information on the rates and markets for my product. Initially I was also given the opportunity to go to Butwal and Kathmandu to study the market conditions for Khuwa. With the help of these study visits I today sell my products in Bhairawaha, Butwal, Pokhara and Kathmandu. There is no room for me to complain but to appreciate the program?s initiative and effort to help people like me to reduce the level of poverty in the country through the promotion of micro-enterprises. The fusion of my hard work, perseverance and support through the program has paid dividend. I have been able to generate a comparative good income and I am able to make a decent saving after meeting all the expenses of my business, household expenses and paying for the medical and education of my four children.