600 Dalit women in Nepal can escape poverty for themselves and their family through financial independence. Funding quality skills training in microfinancing, crop management and literacy, women are able to access small loans to create and develop their own businesses. In the challenging landscape of rural Nepal this increases their income, provides more stable means of supporting family and creates more dignified livelihoods.
Almost half of Nepalese Dalits live below the poverty line, more than 80% are landless. 90% do not have food security and 1/3 children never enrol in school. Commonly uneducated and subject to abuse, caste discrimination adds to the already-existing hardships of extreme poverty. Facing double discrimination as women, less than a quarter of Dalit women are literate and struggle to earn enough money for basic necessities, trapped in a cycle of degrading manual labour with no hope of a way out.
This project provides 600 women finance management education, access to microloans through finance groups and training in skills such as crop growing. This brings excluded women together to learn how they can improve their lives both financially and domestically. It will increase their family's income, their confidence and they'll no longer need to participate in undignified caste-based labour. An awareness raising programme in the community on women's rights is also offered, changing attitudes.
Women in the pilot year of the project have increased their monthly income from 150 to 12,000 Nepalese rupees through creating new enterprises such as growing and harvesting mushrooms. They have realised their own capacity for learning and are now prioritising education for their children. Families have been able to access funds to pay for health needs and no longer struggle with food security. Women for the first time are treated according to their potential, not their gender or caste.