Somar from Nepal’s new life yields much love (and veggies)

Stories | July 29, 2022

In Australia, if we are injured at work or out of work, we have safety nets in place. Government payments like WorkCover, Centrelink and family benefits support people and their families during tough times. For many poor people working in developing countries, there aren’t many safety standards, let alone safety nets, full stop.

CBM Australia knows from its work in some of the world’s poorest places that a lot of men who have a disability got it through an accident at work: from using farming and machinery equipment, riding a motorcycle, or working on an unsafe construction site.

In Nepal, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% of adult males worked in agriculture, and they often had to move around seasonally for work. This work was often insecure and either casual or at an hourly rate. As much as 10% of Nepalis had to leave their country to find work, with many going to India. 

Somar Tamang lived in rural Nepal with his wife and two children. He had been working in India for four years when he had a terrible accident when a wheat-cutting machine severed his fingers.

When a person like Somar gets injured on the job, it can have a devastating impact on his own life and on the lives of his family, who depend on him.

Forced to return home, Somar struggled to support his family and provide regular medicine to his wife, who had a heart condition.

“My family was very sad as all our dreams were shattered, and life started to get complicated day-by-day,” he says.

Somar travelled from place to place, only able to find casual hourly work. “It was hard, as sometimes I used to get [work] and sometimes I didn’t. It was difficult for me to send my children to school and purchase regular medicines for my wife”.

Life began to improve for Somar when he heard about a CBM-supported local project that helped people with disabilities and their families to gain skills, earn income and get their lives back on track.

Given his experience in agriculture, Somar was appointed chairperson of a local farming group and provided with materials to build a greenhouse near his home. He now earns enough money to support his family, send his children to school, and buy medicine for his wife.

“I have grown and sold 1,945kg of vegetables. I am very happy doing farming, and it also helps me to spend quality time with my family,” he beams.

CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). 

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