Bringing out the entrepreneurship in women ex-combatants

Bal Kumari Mahato at her tailoring business
Bal Kumari Mahato at her tailoring business. Photo: UNDP Nepal

Women ex-combatants have excelled in starting up enterprises and are establishing themselves as entrepreneurs with the support from United Nations Inter Agency Rehabilitation Programme (UNIRP), a joint endeavour of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and ILO.

Bal Kumari Mahato, an ex-combatant discharged from Shaktikhor cantonment is successfully running tailoring business in Ratna Nagar, Chitwan, post the training course. She received business start up support equivalent to Rs. 30,000, enabling her to join her friend's tailoring shop as a partner. She says, "I am happy that my life has taken some shape. I was not so optimistic about my future. This training and support provided has opened up a new horizon for me.”

Highlights

  • By 22 March, 6 female ex-combatants completed vocational training and 160 graduated from other micro-enterprise trainings. Among them three are employed and 77 have established their own businesses.
  • By June 2012, UNIRP has provided 2,149 VMLRs with support for rehabilitation.

By 22 March, 6 female ex-combatants completed vocational training and 160 graduated from other micro-enterprise trainings. Among them three are employed and 77 have established their own businesses.

Similarly Yam Kumari Pariyar now owns a beauty parlour in Aairi Chowk of Birendranagar, Surkhet and is earning about Rs. 500 per day. Pabitra Thapa Magar from Bhimeshwor13, Dolakha has just started a grocery shop in Dadhikot, Bhaktapur. Her relatives have warmly accepted the couple back to society.

Maiya Timilsina, 20, studying in grade 11 at the Himalaya College in Koteshwor, Kathmandu says, “I am very happy that I am able to continue my studies.”
A resident of Kavre district, Maiya recalls her poverty stricken days which compelled her to discontinue school and join the People's War. After being discharged as a minor she opted for the education package. She is getting Rs.1800 as the monthly stipend to meet her educational expenses and also an additional amount of Rs. 2200 per month for lodging and fooding for two years, until she completes her studies—a special provision provided for those staying away from their homes for education. Altogether 129 women are pursuing their education all over Nepal with the help of UNIRP.

About one third of the discharged 4008 ex-combatants from the 7 cantonments and 21 satellite camps were females. The rehabilitation programme is providing special support to the women ex-combatants discharged in the category of Verified Minors and Late Recruits (VMLRs). Vulnerable women such as pregnant and lactating mothers with infants are receiving additional nutritional support, child care facilities, grants and maternity allowance. The legal and psycho-social counseling to victims of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and reproductive health support are remarkable gender sensitive features implemented under the programme.

By the deadline date to enroll in the rehabilitation package, 684 women have contacted the toll free number and 762 have been provided with career counseling and have been referred for training or further education, based on their choice.