Through a local Nepalese non-profit, Mitra Path was introduced to families living in temporary shelters in Panga Village — about 6 miles south of the capital Kathmandu and one of the worst hit areas by the 2015 earthquake.
The problems that the families were facing were:
- Their homes were destroyed by the earthquake
- They faced bureaucracy in receiving government subsidies
- Many men were away from home looking for work, leaving women to care for their families & community
- Many women have lost their jobs as weavers due to factories shutting down after earthquake
Over twenty women expressed their wish to start a business selling products, such as spices, soap, candy and ointments.
Mitra Path, along with another non-profit in Vancouver, jointly provided initial funding to a group of six women who wanted to start a small spice business, in which they would grind, package and sell their own spices as a way to revive their livelihoods. Our funds were used toward purchasing a high quality electric grinder, building a workroom, and providing training.
One year later, we visited one of the women, Nirmala, who now had a thriving spice microbusiness that financially supports her husband (who now works for her full-time) and three children. Their income from selling spices – such as chili, turmeric, and cumin — has allowed them to stay in their community and send their children to school. Using her entrepreneurship training, Nirmala took out a loan and learned to manage her book of accounts. She was now profitable with expanding product lines (masala and millet), and planned to hire more women in her area who are eager to work for her. She also planned to sell wholesale, in other districts and internationally.