Starting a successful civilian life
To date, more than 1,218 men and women, verified minors and late recruits who were discharged from Maoist cantonments in February 2010 have been referred for voluntary rehabilitation packages that are being offered by the United Nations.
More than 650 have already started training in regional centers or are studying in schools close to their homes (30% of them women) and 140 have already completed their training programmes (cooking, driving, shoe making and other vocational trainings and micro-enterprises). The trainings were organised by UNDP Micro- enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) and other service providers including the private sector and Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) affiliated organisations. More than 30 of those who have completed the training have already started their own business or found employment.
A toll-free number, 16600177888, operating across the country, is available to dischargees to make first contact with the programme and it is accessible six days a week. This number has already received over 2350 calls inquiring about the rehabilitation programme.
A majority of the callers have expressed willingness to avail themselves of the education and health training, micro-enterprise support or vocational skills packages.
Chaudhary, 25, identified as a late recruit during the verification process in 2007 and discharged from Ilam cantonment (eastern Nepal) on January 2010 is happy with his life today. He visited the UN Rehabilitation Field Office, two days after being discharged from the cantonment. After professional career counseling he was referred to the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training programme under MEDEP. After the training, he decided to be an entrepreneur. The technical training programme provided him with accounting skills and support for business plan development along with moral support to start and manage a new small business. Three months later, he started a small footwear business by opening a shop at his own residence with the start up support he had received from the programme.
Chaudhary, as an entrepreneur, is now earning an average of NRs. 300 per day and is working hard to further improve his new business. He is looking for additional opportunities to expand his investment by contacting micro-credit providers.
Along with his wife he has also started a meat-shop in addition to the footwear shop. "I am committed to be a successful entrepreneur", he says.
He has also become a member of a local savings and credit group. He says, "I am waiting for my turn to get credit from the local credit group". He has realized that addressing customer?s need is key to success in business. He is now looking for linkages with market whole sellers and financial institutions.
The UN Field Office and the Service Providers are regularly visiting his business place to provide him counseling and to offer follow-up support for the first 6 months . He is satisfied with his new life and with the skills he learned during the course of training. He expresses his happiness for the monitoring visits and follow-up support . He says, "I do not wish to return to military life anymore !"