Beyond microcredit in Nepal
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Like many Nepali women, Shiba Pariyar did not have big ambitions. She was too occupied in carrying out her household chores and helping her husband in a small plot of land they had. Nearly a decade ago, one fine morning, she heard that an officer from a local NGO was visiting her village to form a women’s group. With friends, she attended the meeting. That was a turning point in her life.
Shiba now runs a tailoring shop at Ghorahi in Dang district. “I borrowed Rs 5,000 from Nepal Women Community Service Center (NWCSC)—a local NGO based in Dang—and started this shop with one sewing machine. Now, I have got 10 sewing machines and eight people working in my shop. My children have passed the SLC exams and I have also bought a plot of land in the town area,” Shiba said with a big grin.
It’s not a small feat for a ‘dalit’ (so-called untouchable) woman like Shiba to run her own shop and also generate employment for young men and women. Tens of thousands of women in Nepal, like Shiba, are working as micro-entrepreneurs as part of the microfinance movement. The idea of microfinance took off nearly four decades ago with the launch of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, founded by Prof Muhammad Yunus, and was based originally on the idea of providing small loans to poor—mainly women through joint-liability groups—also known as the Grameen model.