Rama Badal, a current resident of Naubise, Mandandeupur-7, Kavrepalanchok is 23 years old and is currently considering cow-keeping as her major source of income. She completed her high school majoring in Nepali education as the major subject. She got married once her high school was over. Now, Rama is a homemaker and a young entrepreneur who financially supports her family through cow keeping. Rama joined the ‘Youth Empowerment Program’ in 2020 by getting the membership of the club and youth network. Being a woman, typically a homemaker, in rural household limits women to step out of their home and have general social interactions. The case of Rama does not have this boundary. She mentions,“Had I not been introduced to this club and network, I would have stayed at home, learnt nothing and had very less interaction with people. Club and network meetings and activities as well as programs serve like breaks for me. At least I can take a pause from my homemaker duties and freshen myself. I feel rejuvenated and energized.”
She says she has participated in several trainings related to environment conservation, sustainable development goals, climate change, waste management, sanitation, etc. She also says she feels happy to be a part of environment conservation activities such as cleanliness and plantation. Being a part of the club has provided people like Rama a sense of freedom. Adding to this she says, “I feel independent and free. I can give my opinions and participate in decision making at the club. It makes me feel very happy.”But Rama’s inspirational story does not end here. Rama, apart from being a homemaker, is also a farmer. She had been doing agricultural work in her family’s land and keeping a cow.
When Rama heard about the project from the Youth Empowerment Program, which allows entrepreneurial ideas to be executed with some financial support; she decided to go for it. She pitched her idea about rearing one more cow and earning profit by selling the dairy products. She received a fund and brought a cow from that money. Today, she has two cows. She happily shares about her experience with cow farming as: “All I need to do is cut grass and feed those cows. They are like my family now. I sell 7-10 liters of milk per day. The milk has average fat of at least 5.5%. It gives me a good amount of income.” Rama, a mother of a 2-year-old, shares that cow farming is not only profitable in regards to monetary value, but instead, she says that she has been able to provide her daughter with nutritious cow milk every day. This keeps her child healthy and prevents malnutrition. When Rama was asked about her future plans, she said that she would like to expand her farm with more cows in future. However, she is unsure about how she can manage her schedule, because soon, Rama will be sending her daughter to school and look after her education. Rama is yet optimistic about her plans. When she was asked about what empowerment meant for her, she said, “It is being able to earn, keep my opinions, take my own decisions and have my mobility rights. I think I am empowered. Thanks to the youth club.” Young women like Rama do not only work hard, but assist their family members with an additional source of income. This makes women independent, liberal, opinionated and confident. Apart from being an entrepreneur, Rama’s engagement with club and network is impressive. The stories from Rama can inspire women who are bound by household duties. She is also inspiring youths who opt for foreign employment to stay and earn with some business in their own country.