No more eating dead buffaloes: Chanamati's Story
November 2005; "My name is Chanamati Mijar. I am 24 years old and live in Taruka Village Development Committee (VDC), ward no.2 of Ghaireni Sarkigaun in Nuwakot district. The only family I have is my father. I have a problem with my legs. When I was small my legs became weak, which also stunted me. I cannot go to other places and work like others.
We have a small piece of cultivable land. My father works in that field and sometimes weaves 'doko.' But we did not earn enough to feed and clothe ourselves. We had to roam around the village looking for work so as to fill our stomachs. As we belong to a lower caste we even used to beg and get to eat during marriages and 'Shraddha' in the village. The environment in the village was also not good.
Two years back the women from the village got together and formed the Chandeshwari CO under the VDP. They began to keep aside savings and do other works as well. Everyone joined the CO. I could not afford to keep weekly savings so I did not become a member although I really wanted to do so. Then when I has managed to somehow save some money I joined the CO. I immediately took out a loan of Rs. 200/- from the group and bought two hens, against the wish of my father. He scolded me for taking the loan, for he was not sure how we would be able to repay it. But I did not lose hope.
After a few months the hens hatched many chicks. I stayed by their side the whole day and did not let a single one of the chicks die. Now the chicks have grown and I have 6-7 hens that lay eggs. I sell 5 eggs in a day. Sometimes I also sell cockerels. I have already repaid the loan. I have lost a couple of chicken. During the monsoons despite my vigilance, a fox comes and steals the chicken from the front yard. Of course I am unable to run after them. A couple have died due to some disease. I feel very bad when that happens.
But on the whole, our situation is much better than before. Now I don't have to roam around to make ends meet and I have no difficulty in building up a saving. I am satisfied with the progress I've been able to make and I am very happy. Now I also have some goats and a cow. This year I sold a male goat for Rs.1000/-. I felt as if I'd won a big victory.
It is indeed very good for us poor to join the group and be able to do some work through it. Almost all the people of our group are doing some kind of work or the other. Today the village has become a different place. The situation when one had to consume a dead buffalo doesn't exist anymore. Everyone is living in harmony".
As told to Meera Manandhar in Taruka VDC, Nuwakot