Pedalling forward

May 22, 2017

Learning a new skill through a training offered by UNDP and the Nepal Government’s NCCSP has meant the difference between desperation and hope for Dang’s Kallu Sahi Miya

For a long time, Kallu Sahi Miya had seen no other alternative for himself than going overseas to find work.

“It had gotten to the point where we didn’t even have enough to eat,” the 30-year-old says. “Besides my wife and children, there was also my parents to look after.”

Kallu, from Gadhwa in Dang, had worked for a while as a laborer in India, and through that, had been able to send home around 5,000 rupees every month, an amount that was barely sufficient to cover his family’s basic necessities. But when his father passed away, Kallu returned to Nepal, feeling a sense of responsibility as the eldest in the family. “I took up whatever odd jobs were available, but only earned Rs. 3,000 a month on average,” he says. “I knew from the get go that if something didn’t change soon, we would be doomed.”

Fortunately, something did change. Kallu learned of a skills training being offered by UNDP and the Government of Nepal’s Nepal Climate Change Support Programme (NCCSP), with the financial backing of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union. “I decided to give it a shot,” Kallu recalls. “It proved to be a good decision, possibly the best one I’ve made,” he adds with a smile.

For 40 days thereafter, Kallu was trained as a bicycle mechanic. He had picked that particular skill, since bicycles were a common mode of transport in the area, and repair shops in demand. It was revelatory, he says, learning about all the little parts that made up the machines, and how to repair and service them. Almost as soon as he had completed his course, he took a 50,000-rupee loan and set up a shop near his house.  

Kallu today makes around Rs. 800 a day repairing bicycles. Not only has this meant being able to provide better for his family, but he has also managed to set aside some savings, hopefully to purchase more equipment for his shop and expand his services. “Who knows? I might even start selling bicycles myself some day,” he says hopefully.

The desperation with which he had once considered going to some far off land to find work is but a distant memory, something Kallu says is painful to recall, but also makes him feel incredibly lucky for what he has today. 

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