Rebuilding more lives

Rebuilding more lives
Rebuilding more lives

December 2010; Chaudhary, 21 and Budha, 22 were verified as minors during the UN-led verification process in 2007. After being officially discharged from the Surkhet cantonment in February 2010, both of them contacted the toll free number and were subsequently referred to the UN Inter-agency Rehabilitation Programme (UNIRP), Western Regional Office in Nepalgunj to receive career counseling and referral to rehabilitation packages.

They opted for mobile maintenance option under the micro enterprise package. Through the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) provided by the UNDP Micro-enterprise Development Programme, the duo received two and half months of technical training in repairing mobiles and completed the course on 31 July 2010.

Chaudhary and Budha became good friends during the SIYB and the skills training. That friendship laid the basis for a business partnership and they jointly decided to establish a mobile repair and maintenance shop. Six months later they opened Rara Mobile Marmat Kendra (Rara Mobile Repair Center) at Chhinchu Bazaar, Surkhet.

They are now very satisfied with the income they are making. Budha, with his typical shyness reveals that their average daily income was NRs. 500-700. They do not have sufficient tools and accessories but hope to do so when their income starts increasing.

Budha says, 'Normally we do not have any problem fixing or repairing mobiles but for some complicated cases, we take them to our trainer in Nepalgunj. We are still learning.'

Chaudhary and Budha want the United Nations to help them in getting access to financial support in the form of micro-credit. 'Our utmost need is the expansion of the shop. If we get micro-credit support, we could expand our business. We are ready to follow whatever conditions and guidelines and pay back the loan within the stipulated timeframe', they say.

They also feel that the duration of skills training should be extended to five months, 'The period of two and half months is too short to acquire advanced skills in a technical field,' says Budha.

To date, more than 1,759 men and women, verified minors and late recruits who were discharged from the Maoist army in February 2010, have chosen voluntary rehabilitation packages that are being offered by the UNIRP.

A total of 1,144 have already started training in regional centers or are studying at schools close to their homes (32% of them female). Of the total number of participants who are in education and skills training programmes, 368 have completed the training programme in vocational skills and micro enterprise packages.

A toll-free number, 1-660-01-77888, is in operation across the country and accessible six day a week. The dischargees can make their first contact with the programme. This number has already recorded more than 2,300 calls inquiring about the rehabilitation programme.

Most of the callers have expressed willingness to avail themselves of the associated education, health training, micro-enterprise support or vocational skills training packages.

The successful carrying out of the peace process is a precondition for progress across all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The failure of the peace process would be a serious setback for Nepal's development.