Kalu Kumari Kathayat
“I have been through a lot. I have struggled for food to eat, clothes to wear, and even a house to stay in. There is a lot if I start sharing. I have even worn the clothes used by many women 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 lockdown had to add to the situation and make it worse.
She shared, “We still have problems with food, livelihood, and better home. My husband was also working in India but he came back after he pandemic hit India equally badly. My son and daughter-in-law decided to stay back and struggle as there are no opportunities here too. But they couldn’t send us any money, as the markets were closed and they couldn’t earn.”
Kalu approached people we knew for loans and the shops for supplies in credit in those hard times. But all their attempts failed as she and her husband both had no work. It was difficult for them to see how people turned their backs on them and didn’t trust their ability to repay. They had started wondering how to manage meals for a day. That was when they came to know 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 have received the support of around NPR.13,100. I still have the bill (receipt) with me. I received lentils, rice, salt, oil, soap, surf, and many more. I am still cooking the food that we received. It is the same rice, cooking in my kitchen. Food was the main problem for us as those who would earn were stuck at home due to the lockdown. We are happy that we received support from you.”
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.” She added.
As the market has started opening slowly, she hopes 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.
With confidence, she said, “We want opportunities here. A lot can be done here too. If we receive employment opportunities, our financial conditions will be better.”
Written by: Bisesh Sangat
Reaching the Unreached
Sitali Bohora is a resident of the Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City in Banke district. She lives alone in a house close to a riverbank prone to flooding every year. She does some labor work and makes a local liquor, and sells to earn her living. She was not able to provide her children with a good education. Her daughter got married at an early age, and her son left for India to find work as she could not provide for them.
With a faint smile on her face, Sitali shared, “Every year I live in fear that the flood will take away my house. I don’t earn enough and I am dependent on the money my son sends me from India. But as my son hasn’t been able to work due to the pandemic, I can no longer count on his support. Neither could I go to the market to sell the liquor, nor could I get any labor work.”
Sitali bought supplies in credit from nearby shops assuring to pay them back as soon as she had the money. However, as months passed, the situation got tougher. She had to hear a lot from the lenders and getting supplies in credit was not an option anymore. That was when she received the support from commodity voucher assistance.
“I received all the supplies I needed. I got rice, different lentils, oil, salt, flour, etc., which will last for some months. I am alone and these supplies will keep me going for some time. The market has started functioning in India too. Hopefully, my son will soon be able to send me money,” Sitali shared.
Sitali’s eyes lit with happiness as she showed the supplies she had received. She hopes to buy a piece of land someday at a safer location, where there is no risk of disasters, and get her son married and live happily with them.
The commodity voucher assistance supported the vulnerable households to keep their hopes going until the market began to resume. With the lingering effect of the pandemic on the economy, mostly the employment market, the families still fear if they will have to experience similar situations again. With very few resources in hand and limited livelihood options, these families wish to acquire skills and ensure resources that will keep them safe in the worst of days.
Written By: Bisesh Sangat