I am Binita Rai from Udayapur and came to Kathmandu with a big dream together with my husband and small daughter. Getting a job is not easy, we struggled a lot. My husband got a job as a labor worker and I search for a job.
Time just flies. It’s been 16 months already since we started in the WAWCAS program and started our business. During the review, all members discussed our achievements and the problems we faced. Looking at my situation I must say this whole year (Jestha to Baisakh) has been a very fruitful and productive year. After 7 years of ruining here and there I managed to start my business which is amazing. This year have also been a learning year. I learned so much and all the training are so effective. Most importantly business visits and home visits are so effective. Our trainer makes me so powerful and she made the training very easy by teaching different methods.
The whole year, I participated in all the trainings through PCA, SWOT, and PSRP exercises. I can feel many positive changes in me. I listen properly when other people speak and most importantly, I can convince others if something is needed. Seeing my confidence and self-reliant, family members including my husband, looked at me differently and they trust me and believe me. I am happy.
I have a clear vision and to fulfill my vision I develop my plan and implement it regularly, which has helped me to move ahead. During this Nepali New Year, I visited my parents and saw many opportunities for businesses there. In Kathmandu due to new norms, we are not allowed to have our cart on the street. It was tough whereas in Beltar but I should not worry about it. I also found a good School where I can send my children to.
I have decided I will go to my parents’ place and will run the business there. I am sure I can sustain my business there which also will inspire other women like me. I commit myself that I will transfer my skills and knowledge to needy women like me. I am sure they will also be self-reliant through small business.
It has been a big opportunity for me to be a member of WAWCAS and this is my last blog. Therefore, I would like to thank all the people who have read my story. Special thanks go to the founders of the WAWCAS program and the Slisha organization. This program contributes to developing self-reliant, courageous women, which is so appreciated and needed.
First, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all readers and special thanks go to Binita. We have a very good bond together, like sisters. During these periods she trust me and share everything I have also learned so much from her, and we shared our sorrow and happiness together. Binita is moving to her parent’s place and will start her business there. I am sure she will be a good inspiration for many women. I hope you have enjoyed reading her stories. Once again thank you.
This Nepali New Year, we have decided to visit my parent’s village Beltar I have not been there since 2011. It has been 12 years now, and I am very excited to visit my parent’s village and meet them again. 1st of the Baisakh there is a big festival going on, therefore, we have decided to participate in the festival. My parents were so happy when they heard that I was coming to visit them with my children.
The festivals of Nepal are known for their exhilarating, colorful, and thrilling experiences. Each year, numerous festivities take place according to time and season. It is exciting to see how unique yet similar each festival is. These festivals, also popularly known as ‘Jatra’ are often celebrated with elaborate feasts, music, and enthusiastic observers. However, festivals have a deeper meaning than their feasts and celebrations.
These festivities have cemented the strong and vital bonds between individual members in a community as well as a nation. Most of these festivals can be traced back to a thousand years and they still carry a huge significance today. Although the origin story behind these festivals may have several interpretations, making its actual origin hazy, people still strictly follow the rituals as it was passed down from generation.
I am so happy that me and my children can visit my parents and their village and enjoy it. Most importantly, I can spend time and money. The whole night I spend chatting with my parents and they asked me many questions and I explained them about my business and WAWCAS group. They were amazed and asked me if it is possible to start that program here. I had no idea; therefore, I said that I would discuss it with our trainer Aliza. The next morning after breakfast, we visited ‘Jatra’ place. I could see lots of changes and many shops. I was also thinking that I should also have a shop here during the festival. Then it hit me, because if I have my own shop here at my parents’ village, then how do I enjoy it.
Time goes so fast, and it has been 10 days now and I am planning to leave next Sunday. This trip has been the most memorable trip of my life. To leave again was tough. My mother prepared a special food for us and handed it over to me. My mother asked me to come again soon and we departed each other with full of joy and happiness.
I am the vice chairperson of this WAWCAS group. After seeing my capacity, leadership, and practical knowledge my relatives and neighborhood look at me as their role model. Now I have also been invited to community meetings and I am participating in all the community meetings and sharing my thoughts and views regarding how to make a good community and what our role should be to make a good community.
I always share what I learn from WAWCAS group training. I disseminate the information about WAWCAS program and friends like me have shown a great interest to become a member of WAWCAS group. I manage my time and participate in the meeting with positive suggestions. There, I don’t miss an opportunity to talk about the issues and challenges women and children are facing.
While talking about the program, I formed a group of interested women who were not in the program and informed the organization. They are now new WAWCAS group.
WAWCAS has taken an initiative to bring in front thousands of women like us who have the skills but are not able to identify the opportunity. With this, I too am committed that no women in the community as targeted by the WAWCAS are left behind.
Looking at the women in the WAWCAS group whom I have helped forming are doing their businesses, feeding balanced diet to their children, sending them to school regularly, their family living in harmony and bonding between women in the community.
I feel proud. Now I am very happy and satisfied.
Nowadays, I love to be with our group. Time just flies. Today I am going to share my SWOT1 analysis. Now I can identify my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats quickly. When I did this first exercise, I could not identify my weaknesses. I thought that if I said something about my weaknesses, I feared how my friends would react to it. Aliza explained that everyone has their own weaknesses, and not seeing or identifying these weaknesses is the biggest weakness of them all. She said that if we don’t identify our weaknesses, we will never become a successful and good citizens.
My strengths were healthy, cooperative, and kind and my weaknesses were not willing to learn, high temper, having no experience regarding business, and drinking alcohol. My opportunities were training, saving in the group, getting loans from the group, and seed money from WAWCAS. Threats were wholesale markets are far and I cannot start my business with the cart in the road.
Before, when friends and relatives told me about my weaknesses, I got angry with them. I wanted to hear only good things and always looked for appreciation. Now I am happy, when someone points out my weaknesses because I get a chance to improve: My weaknesses decrease and my strengths increase.
Now I don’t drink alcohol, I control my temper and I can keep calm.
I am quite clear that my strength will help to tap the opportunities and my weakness turn into my strengths. Therefore, I am increasing my strengths, decreasing my weaknesses, tapping the opportunities, and facing the threats. I conduct self-evaluations which has become a part of my life. I am also doing this exercise with my family members including my husband, which has helped me to follow the right path. I hope while you are reading my experiences you will also identify your strengths and will advance yourself.
1SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Today’s Issue Based Training (IBT) helped me to be a better mother. This time we discussed child development. When Aliza asked us how we wanted our children to be, everyone said good things about their children. Aliza concluded that everyone wants improvement for our children – but just wanting is not enough. It depends upon our behavior towards our children. When you sow the seeds of maize, you cannot grow rice. Likewise, the good future of the children also depends on our behavior. Aliza told us what behavior we should do and what we should avoid.
Should do Behaviors:
- Appreciation and Encouragement.
- Love and Affection.
- Provide time to play games.
- Inform children whenever leaving home.
- Only telling them why certain things should not be done is not enough. The reason why they are not to be done should also be explained to them.
- Make it a habit to share our food with those who are in need.
Should not do Behaviors:
- Should not discriminate between children. This results in development of inferiority complex in the discriminated child.
- Should not ask children to do work in return of things like Biscuits, chocolates, money etc. Later, children will not do anything without expectation of any returns.
- Should not praise a single child. This will result on development of arrogance.
- Should not promise children for anything that cannot be fulfilled. They may lose confidence in you.
I was very surprised. Because I realized that I never praised my kid and always makes promises which I never fulfill. I felt so bad, and I committed myself to never do this again. After the training, I went home with lots of feelings, and I shared them with my husband. We both have started to praise our kid and listen to what she says. We also explain to her how important it is to serve needy people and she is listening so attentively without asking any questions. After the training, we changed our behaviors toward our daughter, and she is very happy whenever we praise her and listen to her.
I just started my additional business and it have been perfectly going. But this month, I am very sad, and worried. I am suffering from Dengue. Due to dengue, I could not start my business, since my whole body is still aching, and my muscles are so painful. I don’t know how to restart my business because all my savings are gone. Another unexpected thing came into my life. My daughter is sick too. Oh God why are you giving me so much trouble? I feel like my life is nowhere. How do I restart my business when my life is full of struggle? During the training, I learned that every problem has solutions, so I have tried to think about my options to restart my business. When Aliza came to visit me, I felt good, and her encouraging words boosted me a lot. I am trying my best to be calm and take full rest. Honestly, it was difficult just to take rest. I am updating my dairy every day and this dairy has become my good friend. I write down all my feelings and thoughts. This diary is my trustful friend, and I can write anything that I feel. I don’t have to worry about how others will react to it, because it is only my diary and me. I am praying every day for the recovering of my daughter and me soon. I am very eager to make my days better than before. I hope it will come soon.
As I decided to get my marriage registration done, I went to the village and completed the important task. After I did the registration, I don’t know why but I felt proud and cool.
Winter season has started why spicy snacks cannot be sold as before. Therefore, I have decided to expand my business. I used to save 300 rupees per day, from the saving money. I plan to expand my business with varieties of food items such as tea, mo:mo: (dumplings), noodles, fried eggs, boiled eggs, aluchups (fried potato with peas floor) and many more. I know where to get the best materials for that. Whenever I buy the materials, I always take the receipts and all my daily transactions I record properly and accurately.
I never ever used spices that are harmful to the human body. I always use quality spices which is healthy. I always treat my customers differently than my competitors and I appreciate when they provide feedback and implement accordingly.
Seeing the situation today, I am very happy with myself and who I am, and what I am doing. I implement what I learn in the WAWCAS training. As of now, I feel I am a successful and good entrepreneur. My idea of expanding my business is very much profitable. I want to continue and invest more in my business because I have learned that “more investment gives more income, and more income gives more profit”.
I never thought that marriage registration was very important, therefore, I did not register my marriage. I never thought that all official registrations were very important. After 7 years of my marriage, I became aware of the importance of registrations such as marriage, birth, and death registration after our IBT class. During the training, it was informed that we must register birth, death, and marriage registration. Only then, it will be easy for a child to enroll in the school and also be able to get citizenship, where we need to show a birth registration certificate. Same as the importance of marriage registration. After the training, my inner eyes opened, and decided to go back to the village and get my marriage registration done. Without marriage registration, I cannot get my children’s birth registration certificates. In the training, I informed them that I am going to my village soon and getting my registrations. I got a big clap from my group members. Aliza was very happy about my announcement to go back to the village. Everyone was pushing me to go soon, so that I will have all documents.
On the way back to my cart, I was thinking that I must close my business for a week while going to my village. It will also be good to meet all my relatives while going back. WOW !!! what a decision I have made.
To develop a good and effective group everyone must fulfill their responsibilities on time and follow all norms which have been developed and agreed by us, since everyone has participated in the meetings actively. I always participate in discussions and training as per schedule. I am very much aware of how much I have saved and how many installments which need to be paid. I remember when I was in the village, I didn’t trust the groups because I had seen that one of the groups in our village didn’t have any record. Nobody knew where their savings were. Therefore, I was scared to be in the group but now I can say, it is not like that here in our WAWCAS group. We are all aware of, how much money we have saved and who has taken a group loan as well as who has paid. Now I am very clear about why I have stayed in the group. Participating in regular meetings has developed my leadership skills and confidence. One of the most important parts is that we get a chance to chair a meeting. In this way, everybody got a chance to create and develop skills in planning and running a meeting. We have experienced a variety of possible ways of holding a meeting. I always appreciate how much value we got in the group.
To increase the money, you must increase your income. Therefore, I always focus on my business and increasing my income day by day.
Due to being busy with my business, time just flies now. I can see and feel the positive changes in my life day by day, and my working style is different than before. This month Aliza has conducted PSRP, and I can see many positive changes has taken place in my daily life as per plan. Normally we used to eat some vegetables and rice and I used to give junk foods to my kids. After IBT training on nutrition I changed my food style. Now we eat rice, vegetables, dals, and salad. Before I never discussed with my kids regarding what we eat and why. Therefore, my kids never involved themselves in what we were doing for food. After IBT trainings now a days I am consulting even very small things to my kids such as what we should cook, and where to go during holidays. Before when I bought clothes for my kids, they were not happy about it. Now I ask them what to buy, and they are so glad and not costly as before. I can see the increasing intimacy between us, which I am so proud of.Every day, I record profit and loss of my business. Previously, I used to purchase materials without inquiring about the price is other shops. Now I verify the prices in at least 3-4 shops and then purchase from the cheapest one. Regularly, I ask for feedbacks from the customers. Taking their feedbacks positively, I try to make my business better. I had started Chatpate (spicy snack) in a cart. As per the customers’ demand, I have now added Panipuri, recharge cards and chocolates and other items as well. In addition, it has not only enabled me to serve my customers better, but it has also helped me to get new customers and expand my business further.
This tool has motivated me to check where I’m at.
It is understandable to have profits or losses in the business. I thought about this and did my best to have more profits in my business. However, the city I live in has developed new regulations for street businesses. It mentions that the street businesses are mismanaged, has created havoc in the mobility of people and vehicles, and are against the regulation. The authorities say that they are trying to manage all the street businesses bringing them within the regulation and have banned such businesses. With this, I have not been able to continue my business as I do it in a cart and move around the streets.
The municipality office has allocated certain hours a day where we can operate our businesses. However, with 2-3 hours a day, my business is suffering losses, hence I have halted my business right now. I have the skills and capacity, but it has just been 6 months since I started my business and I have not enough resources to move into a permanent space.
I remember well that during the 7 days of training, we had discussed the possible challenges that might come in our business. This knowledge has come into use in finding the solution. I have already identified a place where the municipality does not have such restrictions. 2-3 days from now, I will be back with my business.
In this situation, I have regularly been discussing with my husband looking for other possible solutions and am having plans as well. From all those plans, we have decided that panipuri, Chatpate, (it’s a kind of sour, spicy snack.) and snack business is the best one as I have the experience. In near future, I plan to move my business into a permanent space and get it legally registered.
Time goes so fast and I always recall the topics I learned during the training pieces. One of the most important things that I learned is that after the training, we have to commit ourselves to implement each new topic in our daily life and businesses. That is how I implemented PCA (Pocket Chart Analysis), which I learned during 7 days of training. Now I feel that at last, the path of wisdom has opened. Before, whenever my husband asked about the expenses, I always escape because I never ever kept a record of my income and expenses. Therefore, I argue a lot with my husband due to not keeping any records. It was too difficult to manage the food for one month because I never tried to check the expenses; which expenses should I continue and which expenses should I minimize. Through this PCA exercise, I learned it and started to minimize the unnecessary expenses on the same day. Before, whenever guests came to my home, I used to buy varieties of food by taking loans. Now I have minimized and do not buy varieties of food. And when I visit my relatives, I don’t buy stuff which I cannot afford it. Nowadays we sit together, discuss income and expenses, and make a plan. We are both aware of our income and expenses and now we do not have arguments. Seeing my positive changes, I am very much satisfied and happy.
I update my business PCA and personal PCA regularly. I can see clearly the situation of my business. We are all aware that times are changing but the difference now is that it is in our hands to make positive changes, which we have learned during the training.
After starting my business, I was very curious to learn more therefore I was eagerly waiting for IBT training. Well during each training, I lost my 500 rupees profit because I could not open my spicy snack cart. BUT what I learn from the IBT class was very fruitful to change our lives, therefore, I am always willing to participate in the training. Today’s topic was child development Alija ask us what was the most interesting and memorable incident during our childhood? Ah…….. our childhood I can’t remember anything but Alija motivate us to recall it. Finally, I remember that during the Dashain festival I was wearing a nice dress and eating good food when we started to share our childhood memories. Alija requests us to listen to our incident carefully. After that, she again asks us what is the most unpleasant incident during our childhood? In that question, everyone was sharing their bad memories like mothers beating them, scolding always asking them to work always never send to School after that Alija conclude that during our childhood, we loved new observing new things, being loved, and being encouraged. We hated it when we were scolded and beaten. Nevertheless, we still never miss a chance to beat and scold our children. Hence, we should nurture our children with love and affection and not by scolding and beating them up. We looked at each other’s faces no one says just keep silent for a while.
Alija breaks the silence and started the discussion that everyone wants their children to become better citizens. Just because you like them to be a better person is not enough. It all depends upon how well you behave with them and well you bring them up. What you grow is what you get. Therefore, child development depends on 2 factors:
- Care and Affection.
While Alija was saying those things I am thinking from now I will change my behavior towards my daughter I never ever gave chance to play I commit myself that I will give chance to play with her friends.
I started to listen to how she spent the day and what she learned at the School I also appreciate and encourage her to do things that she is doing. After the training, I feel I have a very good relationship with my daughter.
During the last day of the training, I felt so scatterbrained and thought about when I should start my business. I bought a cart on the last day of 7days of training. Based on the training I have selected the place where students, youngsters and youths are walking at the riverside. I have started a spicy snacks business in the cart. On the first day of my business, I felt awkward and shy. My biggest worry was whether customers would come or not and whether my spicy snacks would be liked or not by the customers. However, I have started my business and as a business owner, I feel happy and proud.
On the first day, around 25 customers came to my cart and bought my spicy snacks. I asked for their feedback regarding the test and ingredients, and everyone liked it very much, which really boosted my energy. Within the one-week period, my customers have raised, and I feel so proud and confident. Slowly, my husband has also changed his behavior towards me. My husband was sharing with his friend that now we are two sides of one coin. I felt very happy when I heard that. Now I can help financially to operate our home and my child’s education.
I have started to save in three different financial institutes from my business. Every day I deposit 150 NPR in each financial institute, and I save in our WAWCAS group as per our norms. Before, my mind was full of negative thoughts. Now I feel relaxed and cool. I have solved my problem, which I was fighting for the last 7 years. Now my vision is to see other deprived and needy women in business like me.
As all the process of training was completed and the date for the 7 days of training was fixed, I was filled with energy and potential. Despite being late, I handed over all the household responsibilities and children to my husband. Then I went to my relative house to stay during the period of training because my room was a little bit far away from the venue of the training. I was very eager to learn and get different knowledge by attending the training on time. As the time passed, the moment of my patience was over, and I was able to attend the first day of training on time. I was from the Rai community and my other friends were from Newar community, therefore we from Rai and those from Newar community shared our things to each other in our own mother tongue. The way of doing introduction was really different. It was done by combining the two paired picture. I got the friend of Newar community. Before the time of introduction, member from Rai community were on one side and member from Newar on the other side. Through the medium of picture, Aliza made the partner of Rai and Newar. At first, I felt little bit uncomfortable. I was wondering to have my close friend; anyway, we were done with introduction. The rules and regulations of training was also developed, it was the first time of my life that I attend the training. Everything was new for me. All the members were speaking in their own mother tongue, so we planned to discuss in Nepali and the norms have been developed that we could not speak in our own mother tongue during the training period, which makes it easier. All the subjects of training were really useful and knowledgeable. It was 7 years since I have been to Kathmandu and the thought of doing business was also of same period. Sometime there was no money to invest, sometimes I am afraid of taking risks, sometimes I did not find the proper place to start the business and honestly speaking, I don’t know how to run the business. That’s why I could not start my business. This training gave me the very first and positive thoughts to proceed and the seed money with the opportunity to be the member of the executive committee. I was so pleased that my friends choose me as vice-chairperson, which is an honor for me. I have to say that because of the training, I was on the way to fulfill my dream, which is 7 years old. My husband was also so happy for this decision. I can’t wait without giving thanks to Slisha for the WAWCAS program, for giving me courage and learning for the business planning, Panipuri Chatpate. I am very eager to start my business.
I am Binita Rai from Udayapur and came to Kathmandu with a big dream together with my husband and small daughter. Getting a job is not easy, we struggled a lot. My husband got a job as a labor worker and I search for a job. I heard about the WAWCAS program from my friend encouraged me to meet the WAWCAS team. After three days I got a chance to meet Aliza and discuss the program. She informed us about the WAWCAS program which is to strengthen the autonomy and the social and economic empowerment of needy women like us and our families The main focus is us – the women, and our children. WAWCAS helps the women to establish a women group where we have to do savings and to start small businesses. In this way, we will improve our living conditions, and create a better foundation for our lives and our families. Each woman gets a small loan with small contribution without any service charges and pays it back in a maximum of 12 months. While Aliza was talking, I was visualizing that I am starting my own business. Aliza also informed us that we need to be in a group of 20-25 members.
After listening to all this information, I am very worried because in our area I do not see other needy women like me a lot. I can see only three women who are in need like me. I discussed with Aliza, and she informed me that there will be an ISM* meeting soon. She invited me to participate but the meeting place is one-hour walking distance from my area. Therefore, I told her that I will discuss it with my husband.
I have also discussed this information with other women as well, they are also very eager to participate in the ISM meeting. We are eagerly waiting to participate in the ISM meeting.
Note: ISM is Information Sharing Meeting
I am writing the blog of Binita Rai and I will be with you for the 16th month’s period. I am visualizing changing her life. I am very excited to see how she will change her life gradually with our support and training.
Sincerely, Aliza Magar – Local Program Leader