» Programme to root out poverty paying off

Apr 20, 2012
Keshab Dagaura, a freed Kamaiya (bonded labourer) from Jhalari VDC-7 in the district, is happy that he has his own house and business. He is working hard to uplift the economic status of his family ever since he was liberated from the Kamaiya system a decade ago.

KANCHANPUR, APR 15 - Keshab Dagaura, a freed Kamaiya (bonded labourer) from Jhalari VDC-7 in the district, is happy that he has his own house and business. He is working hard to uplift the economic status of his family ever since he was liberated from the Kamaiya system a decade ago.

“I have four katthas of land provided by the government and am engaged in my own business,” said Dagaura, who is now running a rice mill.

However, he has been successful in materialising his dream with the help of a programme launched by the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) in collaboration with Nepal National Social Welfare Association (NNSWA) to eradicate poverty in the Kamaiya and other poor communities.

“Initially, I took a loan of Rs 25,000 from the PAF to rear pigs. Then, I opened a rice mill run on diesel with a loan of Rs 50,000. Now, I am running a rice mill powered by electricity with a loan of Rs 100,000 from the PAF,” said Dagaura, adding that he is planning to take additional loan to run a Sheller mill.  He said that the mill processes three to six quintals of rice on a daily basis. With the income from the business, he runs his family and saves some money to pay back the loan. Not only Dagaura, many other Kamaiyas and poor people have also benefited from the programme.

According to Tek Buda, coordinator of the programme, many former Kamaiyas are engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and cycle and motorcycle repairing centers after the programme was launched in the district.

He said that 19,848 people of 3,574 households in seven VDCs in the district, most of them former Kamaiyas, are associated with the programme. “PAF is investing budget to provide skill-oriented training and promote income generating businesses such as animal husbandry and vegetable farming in the Kamaiya and other poor communities,” Buda said.

He also informed that the farmers earned Rs 1.18 million from potato cultivated with the investment of Rs 666,000 in 239 katthas of land in Naukhuri camp area this year alone. Meanwhile, the NNSWA is preparing to extend the programme. “Other former Kamaiyas who are left out can also benefit if the programme is continued for some more years,” said Buda.

(Courtesy: This story was published in The Kathmandu Post Daily on April 15, 2012)