Supporting households in their journey of self-reliance


Supporting households in their journey of self-reliance 

"I have been through a lot. I have struggled for food to eat, clothes to wear, and even a house to stay. There is a lot if I start sharing. I wore used clothes before." Kalu started. 

Kalu Kumari Kathayat is a resident of the Khajura Municipality in Banke District. She lives with her husband while her son and daughter-in-law work in India. Living in poverty and with a disability, her family struggles for livelihood even in normal times. The COVID-19 pandemic, mostly the lockdown had to add to the situation and make it worse.

She shared, "We still have problems with food, livelihood, and a better home. My husband worked in India but he returned after the pandemic hit India. My son and daughter-in-law decided to stay back and struggle as there are no opportunities here. But they weren't able to send us any money, as the markets were closed for a long time, and they couldn't earn."  

Kalu approached people she knew for loans and the shops for supplies in credit in those hard times. But all her attempts failed as she and her husband had no work. It was difficult for them to see how people turned their backs on them and didn't trust their ability to pay back. They had started wondering how to manage meals for a day. That was when they were informed of the support being provided by CARE Nepal and its partner to the most vulnerable households, through the UK aid-funded initiative.

Kalu is very thankful to have received the commodity voucher assistance as her family received support that would keep them going for at least two months. With a smile on her face, she shared, “I received the support of around NPR.13,100 then. I still have the bill with me. I received lentils, rice, salt, oil, soap, and many more. We ate the food that we received. Food was the main problem for us. We are happy that we received support from CARE. It reduced the mental stress we had to go through. 

Kalu also appreciated the approach adopted for support. “What would we have done if we received money instead? It could have probably been spent on alcohol or by playing cards. If we hadn’t received that support, we would have probably died of hunger. The support lasted for two months, and it worked as a buffer time to find some work.” She added. 

As the market opened, she hoped they could receive some support for livelihood initiatives to keep her family going well. She is hopeful of possibilities at home if opportunities are provided. She doubts her ability to work due to the disability, but she believes her husband could earn and support the family. Reflecting on her experiences of the lockdown and beyond, she doesn’t want her husband to leave her alone and leave for India. 

Considering the needs of the families like that of Kalu, CARE Nepal is engaged in recovery initiatives to support the poor and vulnerable households to revive their livelihood and help them become more self-reliant. Efforts are being made to link them with existing social security systems and support them for easy access. Initiatives such as supporting micro-entrepreneurs in developing business/ enterprise recovery plans and organizing them in groups, developing a local government-led interest subsidized credit support mechanism to channelize soft loans, and implementing a diversified nutrition garden model with the smallholder farmers have been implemented.

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