Unemployed Madhesi youths turn into entrepreneurs
May 2008; Nine youths aged 17 to 27, in Bateshwor VDC, 25 kms north of Janakpur are successfully running a cooperative that manufactures Mitha (molasses) from sugarcane juice. The co-operative has manufactured 9,000 kgs of Mitha since December 2007 and has been able to earn Rs. 18,700 within two months by selling 8,000 kgs. in the local market.
Under the UNDP Quick Impact and Peace Support Initiatives started in December 2007 in the 10 Tarai districts, Micro-enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) launched 'Start and Improve Your Business' training specially designed for the youths. The community selected these nine unemployed youths for the training. After the training, the group invested Rs. 93,460 taken as loan from family and friends, to start the cooperative while MEDEP provided the rest of the support to buy sugar cane crusher and rice mill machines, under the provision of Common Facility Centre for hardcore poor, excluded or conflict vulnerable groups.
Ram Ekwal Mahato, 28, a member of this co-operative says, 'This programme has provided a great opportunity for livelihood in our own community for unemployed youths like us. Earlier our parents were reluctant but now they are willing to invest some money to expand the business. We have already started repaying the loan also.'
The Bateshwar Village Development Committee office also provided a motivational grant of Rs. 20,000 to the co-operative for electrical wiring and meter installation as a reward for their success.
In the near future, the cooperative is planning to establish a saw mill and also produce cement blocks, which will lead to more employment opportunities for the local youths.