Stories


Manish, now 20, completed his schooling with a CORE scholarship. His mother has been a member of the saving group for eight years and was struggling with school expenses for Manish and his sisters. Manish passed his final exams with good results and joined a college for further studies. He still helps his mother selling on the street whenever he can.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to have studied and feel that it is very important that other students have the chance that I did. Most organizations work in villages, but I am so glad that you also work in the city, where there are so many poor people, so that the children can have an education. There are many students like me who want an education. I hope you can continue this work for many years – for a lifetime. I would like to say a big THANK YOU for all your support.”

Agni studies in grade 4 and is the youngest in his household where he lives with his father, mother, brother, sister-in-law, and grandmother. The young boy has two older brothers who have already left home. He is an average student who says about his scholarship from CORE/HimRights, “We are getting to study, eat, and sing”.

His parents who farm and raise livestock, do not have an education and cannot help him with his homework, however he says “there is a sympathetic teacher at school that helps the children with their studies”.

Agni wants to become a soldier “to earn money because a job is important to do”.

Abhishek is in grade 3 and has had a scholarship since grade 2. He lives with his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother and younger sister who studies in grade 2.

“My mother works the fields and plants potatoes and maize, whilst my father filters sand for a living. The household staple is rice, and my father catches fish and prepares it for me with breakfast in the morning before school”.

Agni’s mother managed to study until grade 9 and helps him with homework. “I want to be a policeman when I grow up” he says.

Saili Maya lives in Manhari, Hetauda with her family. She is 16 years old. She left studying after class four because her parents did not have money to send her school. Instead, she looked after cows and worked in field to earn money and support her parents.

With the initiative of HimRights, one day the principal and teachers of Shri Sagarmatha Elementary School did home visit and came to know about her. They spoke with her parents, and her father said, “We do not have money. We work as daily wage laborer and are struggling to feed 12 family members of seven daughters and three sons. That is why we are unable to send our children to school. It is very difficult.” Upon hearing this, they told him to send his daughter to school to study, as they will support them.

Saili Maya was very happy when she came to know that she is getting a chance to study again. She then enrolled in class five.

After getting an educational support from HimRights and Core International, she said, “Before it was difficult for me to sit and study with the children who are younger to me. I was scared thinking whether I will be able to study like before or not. But later I felt one kind of energy in me and thought I have to study properly and take this opportunity and move forward.”

Sancha Lal Thing, her tuition teacher says, “After the tuition classes started, it became easier for her. In the beginning even though she came regular to school, she was unable to say her name in front of everyone. The tuition classes gave her energy and slowly she gained confidence to speak in front of the class. Now she can easily read and write.”

Saili is happy to see her parents supporting her in education. She says, “HimRights supported us with food and that encouraged my parents to provide me with lunch in school.” She added, “I feel that because of tuition classes I came first in class five. This year also I have been given support in stationeries and I never skip my school except when I am sick.”

She has promised that this year she is going to do better, and comes regularly to school and for tuitions. Not only that she is also confident that if there is tuition classes on Saturday then she can do her best.

Saili says, “I am very grateful to HimRights, Core International and to my respected teachers who have supported me in a way I was not by my parents. I want to study continuously like this and I request you to support me until then.” At last she said, “With the education support that you have given me not only my face is happy but there is happiness inside me, my family and life.”

Nisha is 12 years old and she studies in grade 6. Her parents had abandoned her and now she is living with her elder brother and other family members.

She is very happy to get help from CORE/HimRights because she got an opportunity to learn. She is happy to get ration and stationery from HimRights as it has helped a lot. She used to write in a leaf because she did not have a notebook. HimRights have made her life better.

She is good in her studies and has improved a lot since she got support.

She wants to learn more and become a good person.

Ramila is 21 years old and has three children. “Ramika is my eldest daughter who is currently studying in grade one, middle daughter is 3 years old and the smallest is my son, who is just born this year. I married at the age of 15 and Ramika was born when I was 16, the middle daughter when I was 18 and my little son at 21.”

Her oldest daughter, Ramika Praja, is studying in grade one with a scholarship from HimRights/CORE. She is doing much better in her studies than before. “I am happy that Himrights/CORE has helped us. She plays for a while and comes saying this and that I learned today at school and she starts writing and studies herself. I don’t have to ask her to study again and again. She goes to tuition in the early morning. Her father takes her up to crossing the river and then she continues with her aunties, my sisters, who also study through Himrights/CORE. She likes going to school but sometimes I have to convince her to go.

“Yes, there are changes. My husband has started helping me because we now have help for our children from this type of organization. Before my daughter was not big enough to study and we had kept her at a child center which was far from our village so we didn’t have to look after her, but now we look after her and make her study.”

“I studied until grade 4 because my parents were poor.  If there were facilities like my child is getting right now, then I could also have studied. My parents had 7 kids but only 5 are alive. My parents could not even afford pencil and notebooks. I have three children already but now I won’t have more. My sisters are still studying. My brother is 14 years old; he is currently at Narayanghat working. He used to study here but left saying that he is old and doesn’t want to study. I told him to study but he didn’t agree.”

“My husband works at a farm; he earns rice to bring to our house. He gives children bath and takes them to hospital if they are sick. We won’t get any chance to play with our children. We only meet our children while eating. We are poor and we have to think what to eat morning and evening, so we have to go to farms everyday to work.”

Surya Prakash Praja was born in a poor family and began studying at Jagriti Adharbhut School at the age of ten. Teacher and head master.

“Although my parents had land, they were poor and uneducated therefore did not know how to make use of their assets. My teacher Thaku Ram Thing encouraged me to attend school.”

Surya Prakash’s parents supported his interest in education and understood the importance of it although they were not literate themselves.

“It was really difficult because I had to walk one and a half hours every day just to get to school. On top of this, my family was not financially stable, but I was committed. By the time I reached Grade 5 I was married off as was the practice in those days.”

Despite his hardships, he graduated, became the principal of the school, has been involved in politics for the past 12 years, and has been an active staff member at Jagriti Adharbhut for 22 years.

Sajina is 11 years old and finds subjects are easier when they are taught by their teacher Nebina. Sabina studies in grade 3 and has received support from CORE/Himrights since grade 1. She is fifth in class and enjoys reading Nepali words.

“I live with my sister, brother-in-law, and his parents who often drink a lot and scold me. I get ready for school but everyone at home is too busy collecting firewood or doing household chores to feed me.

“My own mother and father are migrant labourers on a chicken farm in India. My father broke his back whilst transporting seeds for the chickens and cannot walk. I’m waiting for them to return in a couple of years and fix the family home, once they have saved enough money. ”

“I do my homework and if I there is something I don’t understand, I’m able to ask my teacher.”

Tara fled to Kathmandu with her baby after her husband was killed in the insurgency. She joined the group in 2009 when she worked in a cow shed. She progressed to owning three cows to sell the milk, and opened a small shop.

“This saving group is like my parental home. Now, I realize that I am capable of doing all this to support my daughter and me. At the start I struggled to save Rs 10, now with their support and what I have learned, I save Rs 300-500 per day. I have learned so much like how to buy wholesale, so I save and earn more money.
“At first, I struggled to repay a loan for Rs 2,500. Now, I’ve taken loans and repaid them; now I have a shop and three cows and a calf. On the extra land I lease for the cows, I made rooms to rent to people who are in a bad situation like I used to be. Now, three of those women have joined the saving group.”

Shyama has been a member of the saving group since it began in 2007. Despite having a difficult household situation, Shyama has overcome many obstacles and at the annual general meeting of the groups, has spoken several times to encourage the other women.

“It has been 10 years. We are doing very well. You have supported the distressed and the poor. We save little money and get loans to support us from the money we saved, it is good. At the time of crisis like when we fall sick, we are able to use this money. …

“Because of the support, the women improved their lives. They acquired knowledge. Women learned how to work. We received training on how to make donuts, pickles, incense stick, tailoring, and candles. From that training women got work for their livelihood. The needy women got support. The children are able to study now. Everyone should do well in life.”

Anita took Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training in 2011. Before taking the training, she did vegetable farming just like now but she used chemical fertilizer in her field.

“Right now, I am growing tomatoes, cauliflower, coriander, mustard green leaves, garlic, and carrots.  After the training, I started using organic fertilizer. For this purpose, I bought cows and I use cow dung and urine as fertilizer.
“The change that the training brought was before I did not know how to make seeds. Now I can make them myself. Before we used to buy seedlings for growing vegetables but that was expensive for me. After the training, I learned to make seed in the nursery. I am satisfied because there is no other work. I feel happy because today vegetables are expensive. One-kilo cauliflower costs Rs. 100, one-kilo tomatoes can fetch you Rs. 100.”

Sunita joined the saving group in 2008. In that time, she saved a greater portion of her earnings. With her first loan, she bought a sewing machine to earn a living as a tailor. Gradually, she earned more, took more loans, repaid her loans, and continued to save. Here she is infront of the shop that she opened in 2015, where she employs another woman to help her and for when she watches her grandchild.
“I am very grateful for the support and want to become a model of success for the rest of the group members so that they too know that they can succeed.”

 

Pramila has an outside tea stand at the wholesale fruit market. She joined the group in 2011.

“I learned to save money and teach other women that if we save a few rupees, we can take small loans to start a business and earn money. From small amounts each day, we can have income and save a thousand or more rupees each month.
“From the income we pay rent, school fees, and buy what we need. I took loans to pay for my husband’s treatment before he died. I am paying off these loans and taking care of my family. I cannot get to many group meetings but I appreciate the group’s work and their decisions for us. I advise all my friends to join the group.”

Saraswoti joined the group in 2009. She is afraid to take a loan but saves every day from her earnings working to sort out recyclable garbage in the dump. When she needs money, she takes it from her savings. As well, her children have scholarships from CORE, which helps despite their difficult home situation.

Ratna Shobha  has worked in SOUP as a facilitator in the saving-credit program for nine years.  Before becoming staff, she was a founding member of SOUP and a volunteer.

“Initially, there were many challenges.  I am in charge of Balkhu and Teku area along with Rajeshwori. We used to talk to women street vendors and convince them to join the saving group.  We had to explain to them what saving is and the benefits of joining this group.
“The women used to doubt us and wonder if we would run away with their money.  For three months, we could not get more than ten members.  We explained that we are different from a finance company because the shareholders benefit from the profit on interest on loans, whereas in this saving group the saving members benefit from the profit on interest. In addition, the members can participate in various training like skill development training, training on health, hygiene and cleanliness.
“That is how we convinced them. Now there are 255 members in the group (
and 200 in the other group). Later it was easier to convince people to join saving group because they would already know about it through their friends.”

Shanti came to Kathmandu 22 years ago.  She is originally from Ramechhap district.

“I save to add more things in my shop, send my children to school, pay rent (Rs. 8,000 a month), and send money to my mother-in-law in Ramechhap.  Before becoming a member of this saving group, no one trusted me with money, so I never used to get loans. This group trusted me. They gave me a loan. Because I have a shop, many members in this area leave their saving money with me to give to the SOUP facilitators. I like when people trust me with their money.
“If we take loan from other people or from micro-finance companies then everybody comes to know about it. They all talk behind my back. They say that my husband does not earn money and that is why I take loan. However, if I take loan from here nobody comes to know about it.”

Gyanu & Bimala of Macchegaun village took the vegetable training in 2011.

“We learned to do this at the training. Gyanu and I took a loan of Rs 6,000 and rented some land, because we don’t have any, from the owner. We give him half of the rice crop but not from the vegetables in the winter. We have to carry water for the vegetables. We earned RS 17,000 after expenses. It was a lot of work but we hope for more profit next year. ”

Hasina, who is originally from India, has been living in Teku, Kathmandu for the past 20 years.

My husband is mechanic and he does not let me work. I started saving from Rs. 100. Some days I save Rs. 50 and some days I save Rs. 100. I am not regular at saving. I save when I have money. After the earthquake, I was not able to save continuously.
“I like to save because in times of difficulty I am able to use this money. With the help of SOUP (and CORE), my son is studying in scholarship.
“My self-confidence has increased after I started saving here. I am relieved that now my son’s future is secure as he is able to study. I pray that my son does not have to experience what we went through.”

Bishnu has been doing vegetable farming with his wife since 2014.

“I took the training and followed whatever I learned. Today I sold beans and cauliflower worth Rs. 2,000. We are able to earn this much amount once a week in the off-season. In the rainy season from June to August, we sell vegetables worth Rs. 3,000 on a daily basis. During that time, we earn Rs. 50-60,000 by selling vegetables.
“After taking the training, my way of doing vegetable farming improved. Ninety percentage of the fertilizer I use now is organic. Agricultural occupation requires a lot of hard work. Right now, during the off-season, there is no production and the market prices of the vegetables are high. The farmers are facing difficulties due to this reason. Nowadays, the tomatoes cost up to Rs. 120 as there is less production and during the season when the production is high, we have to sell tomatoes for merely Rs. 15. However, I am very satisfied with the training.”

Maya took Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training in 2017. However, she could not go regularly to the training.

“I have two cows to attend and my children are very small. For this reason I was unable to attend classes regularly.
“There are some changes after the training in my methods. I learned how to use fertilizers, to pick tomatoes and learned to tie them. I have been doing vegetable farming for the past four years. This is not my land. It is on lease. In one year, we have to pay Rs. 22,000 to the land owner. I am originally from Pyuthan. I came to Kathmandu because there is no one to buy our vegetables in the village and for our children’s education.”

Sanu Maya completed the training in 2017. Before the training, she had not done vegetable farming.

“I am growing vegetables in my own land.  People come to our house to buy the vegetables. I do not carry the produce to the market. Nevertheless, if there is a lot of production then I go to the shop and leave it there.
“The problem I am facing right now is of water and another is financial constraint. I want to make another tunnel but I do not have money. It takes around Rs. 20-30,000 to make a tunnel. I am satisfied since we are getting to eat, and I earn money for my household use like to buy salt and oil.  Before I had to go to the shop to buy vegetables but now I grow vegetables on my own land and I do not even have to ask for money from my husband.”

Raj, 16, completed his formal schooling with a CORE scholarship.

” I studied in Neel Barahi Higher Secondary School from class 3. In Secondary Education Examination (SEE), I was the school topper (top student at the school) with grade A. Currently I am studying management and I am working in a finance office. Without the scholarship, my life would have taken a different road. The scholarship helped me in becoming the person I am today.
“After completing class 12, I will give the Public service examination, as I want to work in government offices. I am very grateful and thankful (to SOUP and CORE).”

Rukmani, 45, used to grow maize and mustard on her land but since the training in 2017, she started growing vegetables.

“Right now, there is radish and cauliflower. I stopped growing maize and mustard after the training because I earn more by selling vegetables. Until now from  cauliflower, I have earned Rs. 6-7,000.
“After the training, my vegetable grow better.  I am very happy because I can go to the market and sell vegetables and use that money to buy things I need at home.”

Ram Maya is from Makwanpur district. She left her village and came to Kathmandu about 14 years back.

“I joined SOUP’s saving 8-9 years back (in 2009). I started by saving Rs. 5 per day. Now I save Rs. 50 a day.  Before, we did not know how to save. When the SOUP facilitators told us about the benefit of saving then we came to know. Nowadays I like to save.
“I take loans due to problems at home. I wash bottles in the garbage collection center. My husband is a driver. I have three children who all go to school.
“If there is money at home then I do not feel like keeping it. I want to give it to facilitators for saving. I have no saving in other places. We request you all not to leave. We do not know other places to save.”

 

Kalpana is originally from Ramechhap district. She came to Kathmandu about 15 years ago.  She joined the micro-credit  group in 2013.

“I sell vegetables in Kalimati vegetable market. The facilitators of SOUP come to collect the saving every day. My friends in Kalimati vegetable market were already members of this group. I had heard about its facilities from my friends.  I wanted to be involved in this saving group.
“I started saving with Rs. 10 and now I save Rs. 100. I like to save small amounts daily and when I am in need, I can take a large sum of money for paying children’s fee, paying room rent, and extending my business.  Sometimes, I take loans to pay children’s fee and to extend my business.
“My knowledge regarding monetary matters has increased.  In short, my life has become easier after becoming involved in saving and credit group.”

Maya  came to know about SOUP when her daughter heard facilitators from SOUP talking about saving and credit in the neighborhood in 2011.

We started saving Rs. 10 and now we save Rs. 200 daily. I like to save because they come to us daily. I tend to spend all my money if they do not come here regularly.  My home rent is Rs. 2,000. I collect garbage for a living. I also stitch sacks. My husband is a shaman.
“Taking loans from here is easier than taking loans from other places.  We can save here daily and in this way, our saving also goes up. Moreover, by repaying loans in small installments daily, we can easily pay off loans.
“By taking a loan, I now make jewelry.  I like to buy gold because if I am in need later then I can sell it off and use the money. If I keep the money then everybody will ask me for a loan. Moreover, if I do not give a loan to them, they will be angry. I buy gold instead and in time of need I sell it.”

Rebika is from Gorkha district. She lives in Kathmandu with her husband. For them saving is living.

We took a loan because we could not afford to start a business with our income. Like we bought this cart, gas cylinder, and stove. These all are expensive for us.  Therefore, we took a loan, bought these items one by one, and paid the loan in installments.   I make vegetable momos and samosas along with my husband and sell sell them in this cart.
“There is happiness in our hearts. We feel that we have crossed the poverty line. Compared to before it is very good now. We have our own business.
It has opened our gate for future.
“We do not have citizenship but the facilitators from SOUP trusted us. These days without identification nobody trusts you with money. However, the facilitators here gave us (
a loan of) Rs. 30,000 without citizenship.”

 

Arjun is from Bihar, India. He is living in Kathmandu for the past 15 years.

“I joined the saving group in 2013.  I started saving Rs. 50 a day. Now I save Rs 200-500 depending on my income. I save thinking that tomorrow I might need it. I usually take loans for my business. I have extended my shop. Before, it was only a betel leaf shop. Now I sell biscuits, noodles, and many other items.
“Saving has changed my life a lot. My business is going well. I have formed a habit of saving. Unlike other places, I do not have to give collateral to take a loan. There is no paper work involved like in other organizations. They believed us. It was a good experience. I got good support.”

 Parmila is from Parsa district. She is saving for the past since 2009. Initially she started with saving Rs. 20-25. Now she saves Rs 200-500 daily depending on her income.

“I am a single woman. My husband died years ago. I had to beg the moneylenders for a Rs. 20-25 thousand loan. But here the SOUP facilitators come to my door to bring me a loan. Here the loan interest is less. Before I only had a small tea shop. I took loans to extend my shop so now I also prepare snacks like roti, vegetables, eggs, and beans. Daily I earn Rs 2,000-3.000 from this small shop.
“I took loan to send my son abroad. I have two sons and one daughter. My one son is in Korea and the other two children are studying in school. I have enough to feed my family.” 

       Sushila, 19 is from Sindhupalchowk district. She studied six years in CORE scholarship. She wants to be a doctor. She is preparing to apply for a scholarship in various medical institutes. Last year she could not get a scholarship and therefore she will be applying this year as well. She has three other siblings.
“My mother sold vegetables in Kalimati for 10-15 years. During that time, she was member of the saving and credit group. However, she left the group and moved to her maternal house in Dhading about five years ago. 

“I am very grateful to this organization for giving me a big opportunity. I consider myself lucky.  It would have been difficult for my parents to send me school without CORE’s support. I am thankful to this organization for taking me where I am today.”

 

 

Rabin, 18, completed his formal schooling with a CORE scholarship.

“I received scholarship from class 6 until class 10.  I study in Neel Barahi Higher Secondary School .The scholarship helped my parents to look after my other siblings. My mother sells vegetables in Kalimati and my father is a driver.

“I am very happy to get this scholarship and I am grateful to the organization.”

Juna, 19 is a student who studied with a CORE scholarship. She received scholarship when she was in class 8. She studied in scholarship for three years.

” I am in class 11 studying humanities in Neel Barahi Higher Secondary School. I am very happy that I got this scholarship and in future, I want to be a social worker and help other people.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to people who helped me achieve my dreams.”