Savings scheme boosts confidence

Goma Timalsina tends her vegetables. Using savings from a cooperative set up by the LWF,  Timalsina has invested in agriculture and livestock. Photo: Santosh KC, ICDO
Goma Timalsina tends her vegetables. Using savings from a cooperative set up by the LWF, Timalsina has invested in agriculture and livestock. Photo: Santosh KC, ICDO

LWF cooperatives transforming lives in Nepal

(LWI) - Goma Timalsina lives a dignified life thanks to her local women’s cooperative, which is supported by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal. In the year since joining, the resident of rural Lalitpur district now enjoys financial stability and can provide for her children. The cooperative is one of 46 the LWF has helped set up in Nepal, which collectively hold savings of USD 787,000.  

If the capacity to educate her children, build a good house, and be financially sound are any indication of wellbeing, Timalsina has moved from a life of poverty to that of economic empowerment. Her perseverance has lent her the self-confidence to manage not only her family but also to support fellow women.

Timalsina used to struggle to put food on the table. She felt helpless and frustrated. She had to shoulder the responsibility of caring for her family alone as her husband offered no support. She was unable to provide her children with a good education, which worried her.

LWF Nepal provided her with Rs 20,000 (USD 180) last year, through its partner, Integrated Community Development Organization (ICDO), to rear livestock and produce honey. She was trained in commercial vegetable cultivation and given technical support. She also took out a loan for goat farming.

Timalsina became a member of a cooperative established by other women living in poverty. With their support, she went from three goats to 15. With income from goat farming, she started seasonal vegetable cultivation. She now counts two buffaloes, five beehives and the goats among her assets. She sells vegetables, honey, milk and goats in the local market.

The cooperative has transformed my life. I want the cooperative to support other women who live in poverty to improve their living conditions.
Goma Timalsina

With her new income stream, Timalsina has built a house and invests in education and health care for her children. She has a healthy monthly income and has money saved. “The cooperative has transformed my life. I want the cooperative to support other women who live in poverty to improve their living conditions. I would like to thank LWF Nepal and ICDO for their invaluable support.”

Branching out into different fields

Besides enabling Timalsina to save, her work with the cooperative has boosted her confidence. Now she is ready to take out another loan to expand her agribusiness. She wants to increase the number of beehives, extend her commercial vegetable garden and rear more goats.

Empowering the poor and oppressed, particularly women, economically is a priority of the LWF Nepal program, says LWF Country Director in Nepal, Dr Prabin Manandhar. “Cooperatives, mostly led by women, have brought about phenomenal changes in the lives of our rights holders.”

LWF in Nepal has been working with marginalized communities since 1984. One of the areas of success has been supporting Dalits, former bonded laborers, people with disabilities, indigenous people and single women to set up cooperatives.

A legally established cooperative has at least 15 members, each of whom may deposit, withdraw and borrow money. Limits are set on the amount of money members can deposit, or take out.

To date, LWF has helped set up and run 46 such cooperatives in Nepal, mostly led by women. In total, they are made up of nearly 11,200 shareholders, who have used cash withdrawals to invest in agriculture, livestock, grocery businesses, education, health care, shelter reconstruction and for emergencies.

 

LWF Nepal Program

 

By Ram Sharan Sedhai, resource mobilization and communication coordinator, Lutheran World Federation Nepal. Editing by the LWF Office of Communication Services