DATE09 May, 2017
NEW DAWN OF LIFE
Ramaya Khadka (Name Changed ) An independent woman, having positive outlook towards her life, who is looking forward for the further expansion of her Business, lives in Narayanthan Kathmandu. To get the level of confidence, which she possesses now, she has gone through many ups and downs in her life. At present, she is living with in-laws and taking care of her 85 years old father-in-law is her responsibility. Her 21 years old son, who was living with his aunt in New Delhi, India has just returned home, after completing his high school. Now, he is taking classes to go for abroad studies.
Originally she is from Nuwakot district and her maternal house is in Dhading. People of both the districts are dependent on agriculture, foreign employment and livestock farming. Though the Government has marked 20 years of age as the minimum age for marriage but mostly in the country side, there is a system of child marriage. So, Ramaya was also the one to get married early. Like, many other peoples of her Village, her husband was also employed in India for the livelihood. So, after 3 months of tying the knot, she moved to India with her husband. The couple, then, started to work in the factory to make their hands and mouth meet. When her husband was there to see the doctor for his hernia operation, he was diagnosed with HIV. Later, through the HIV test, she discovered that she has also being infected by HIV. In the initial stage of being infected by HIV, she was worried about her health condition and life. Meanwhile, they came to the contact of Saathi Organization in New Delhi, which provided them the information about HIV/AIDS and other medical support. After receiving few training, she built confidence and positivity outlook towards her life. Once she visited Philippines where she got opportunity to interact with HIV infected people from different countries round the globe, which became turning point of her life. Also, she came into contact of some members of Shakti Milan Samaj (SMS), and through interaction, she came to know in detail about the Organization.
So, later when they returned back to their motherland, her husband was not able to survive long as he was in his last stage of life. After the death of her husband, she was down and hopeless. Nepal being a patriarchal society, women are double marginalized and with the case of WLHA, the situation is even worst. So after the death of her husband, the Stigma, discrimination and violence from different spheres of her life made her living more complicated. Meanwhile, she came into contact of SMS as she had already gathered information about the Organization when she was back there in Delhi. After being the member of SMS her life started to take a U-turn. The continuous medical support, Counseling and care provided by SMS acted as boon in her distorted life. After she began to recover from the trauma, financial insecurity started troubling her. The responsibility of rearing up his child was laid in her shoulders. Also, the medical expenses had added extra financial burden to her. So, she was looking for a way out to get rid of the situation.
Meanwhile, SMS was in the phase of implementation of pilot intervention of Empowering Women and Children Against HIV|AIDS project from 2015 to 2016. The main objective behind Empowering women and children Against HIV|AIDS project is to make WLHA economically empowered as after more than twenty five years, since the cases of HIV reported in Nepal, the approach to address the issue of HIV/AIDS has been shifted from a mainly health-focused response to a developmental, rights-based approach. Also there has been a current shift in thinking and action towards a more people-centered, human development and in this regard, women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Aligning with this theory, EWCAH project provides vocational training for skill development and disburses the seed money for the operation of Business with the hope that the seed money would bring meaningful changes in their lives. Ramaya Khadka was one of the women selected for this project.
With the seed money, she started small shop in the locality where she lives. With the passage of time she extended her shop from the amount of money saved from the operation of Business. Now, she sells tea and also other items of fast food and. She has also leased some land in front of her shop, where she is doing farming in small scale. At present, she has planted spring onion and mustard there. But, because of proper irrigation facility mustard has not flourished properly. Also, she has reared few chickens which have added the amount of income by selling the eggs from it. From all kinds of activities she saves around Rs 5000 per month. So in this way, the seed money provided by Shakti Milan Samaj made drastic changes in her life. She reminisce her hardship before she received seed money by Shakti Milan Samaj for the operation of her Business.
Personally, she has become more confident and look towards her future in more positive way. Since, she can earn on her own now, she has become independent which has increased her decision making level in her house and she feels being empowered. Also, she is being involved in community activities. At present, she has become the member of community level road making project which has helped to boost her confidence level. Being involved in different activities, she has become physically active. She gets sick less as compared to previous days and there are no complications in her health. She added, apart from the medicine, positive thinking and social involvement has helped her to come to this point of life. She never fails to thank Shakti Milan Samaj for all kind of support she gets. Most importantly, she is obliged for the seed money which became the life changing support for her.