People with disabilities and their families living in poverty face many challenges just to survive. From finding the right health care to paying for medication, to trying to earn a living, everything costs precious time and money. These families are often living hand to mouth. When disaster strikes, the consequences can be catastrophic.
When two families living in rural Nepal found themselves in this situation, a CBM-supported local project changed their lives forever.
The Pandit family work together to grow a new life
Rishiram Pandit was born with an intellectual disability. He lives in rural Nepal with his family. The family’s only income came from his father’s work as a casual farm labourer, and every day was a struggle to feed the family. When COVID-19 hit, life became even harder for the Pandit family, but it was all about to change.
The family heard about the arrival of a CBM-supported local project in their community to help people with disabilities improve their livelihoods. The project had a COVID-response program, which was perfect for the struggling Pandit family. Rishiram also joined the local Self-Help Group (SHG) and his mother, Radhika, was appointed vice chairperson.
Radhika had expressed interest in vegetable farming. Through the SHG, she received training on business plan preparation, lobby advocacy, and nursery keeping. The program also provided funds for a greenhouse, which now produces tomato, cucumber, pumpkin and chilli peppers. She sells her vegetables at a local market, which provides much-needed money to support her family. Putting her new-found knowledge to good use, Radhika has also expanded her business through open farming – leasing huge areas of land for vegetable farming.
Radhika is very grateful for the support she and her family has received from the program.
“We are happy to get a greenhouse and seeds support from the program as we have been doing agriculture for a long time, and now we are able to earn from it. It has made our daily life to survive more easier,” said Radhika.
A double disaster brought opportunity to the Majhi family
Rita Majhi lives in rural Nepal with her husband, daughter and teenage son, who was born with a physical disability. They lived together on a piece of land around the size of a basketball court. Rita’s husband worked as a labourer while she grew vegetables on the family’s land. While her son’s condition had improved over time, the family had paid a heavy cost in expensive treatments. However, Rita’s farming was going well and she was able to feed her family for an entire year.
Disaster struck first in 2015 with a catastrophic earthquake, and then again, in 2019, with the outbreak of COVID-19. All of Rita’s careful management was destroyed along with her home, food storage, livestock, and hope. The family’s situation was dire.
Finally, Rita’s life took a positive turn when a CBM-supported local project arrived with the goal of helping families with disabilities to improve their livelihood. After attending an inclusive event supported by the project, Rita and others formed a farmers group and Rita was named chairperson. The group started a savings program and one of the first items they funded was a new home for Rita and her family as well as a greenhouse, where she now earns a good income vegetable farming.
She is a source of inspiration for her entire community.
“I will motivate all the members of my group to grow vegetables,” Rita said.
Rita is only 33 years old but she has big plans.
“My goal is to earn a good income by cultivating vegetables and gradually I want to be the first to grow vegetables commercially at this young age,” Rita said.