Part 3 – Economic Status Ranking touches my heart

Pabitra informed us that today’s meeting will be different and will take more time than normal meetings, and therefore I am finishing my household work early.  Seeing Pabitra has already arrived I hurried and left immediately.

Pabitra facilitated the meeting by warm welcoming us and asking how you define ultra-poor and poor. I respond to her that the well-off are those who have enough money and poor are those who lack money. After that my other friends in the group also shared their thoughts such as those who cannot fulfil basic needs, don’t have enough food for the whole year, no land, no big house is considered an ultra-poor person. Similar, the person who have land access, can afford a comfortable life, can send their children to big school is considered as well-off.  Pabitra informed us that the Nepal government has developed different tools to categorize people according to economic status. As one example of categorization based on ownership of land, these four categories were pasted on the board: (1) ultra-poor people have land which can only provide food for the household for only 3 months every year, (2) poor people have land providing food for 6 months, (3) mid-poor people can produce enough food for 9 months for the household, and (4) not poor people can produce food on their land for the entire year.  Pabitra then gave us a piece of paper where our own name was written, and she asked us to stick our name on the board listing the 4 economic status categories. As discussed, I thought I fall into ultra-poor as I don’t have cultivated land access and it’s hard for me to fulfill the basic need of my family. At first, I felt so awkward pasting my name in the ultra-poor category. Pabitra also said that the program of WAWCAS is for the women like us. So, I pasted my name into the ultra-poor group, but other members told me that I am not falling into the ultra-poor category since I have a small plot of land. But as my land is unproductive, everybody later agreed that I belong to the ultra-poor. Likewise, the other women also pasted their names on the board according to their economic status.

After the Economic status ranking, Pabitra asked us to make a map of the location of our houses. I asked her why we should make this, and she replied it is easy to find out the direction by seeing the map. It helps to know the way for others also. Otherwise, people might be confused. We started to make a map of our location.

Pabitra said that it is not a sin to be born poor, but it is a sin to die poor, and therefore we have to start our business and change our economic status. This touched my heart so much and I commit myself to change my status.