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Gita’s journey to success

Nepalese Gita Shrestha runs a worm compost business with other women from the Bhardeu village. The 35-year-old woman now has an equal standing with her husband.

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Before 2009, most women at the village of Bhardeu in central Nepal had never been to the country’s capital. Their village was their world. Their life changed at the arrival of Women’s Bank and small-scale loan activities nine years ago. Bhardeu is the sight of one of Women’s Bank’s first projects.

One of the women in the village is 35-year-old Gita Shrestha. Her story of growth is remarkable. In 2010, in order to earn extra income, Gita began growing onions by her home despite her in-laws’ initial resistance to such “modern fads”. As the onions began to earn a profit and the benefits of small-scale farming became evident in other households in the village, attitudes shifted.

Next, Gita expanded her business by building a greenhouse to grow tomato. She joined the village savings and loans group, and then the newly introduced village cooperative.

In seven years, this quiet and shy young woman has grown into a successful businesswoman who makes decisions on equal standing with her husband. Gita has also risen to the board of the village cooperative and acts as the village spokeswoman.

Support from her husband has been important in her success, as has their new equal standing. The mutual respect between husband and wife is evident in everything they do. Their teenage son also testifies to how his mother and father discuss all important decisions together.

The majority of the family’s income comes from agriculture and its by-products. Production has been designed according to the principles of circular economy so that even all waste material can be repurposed.

Today, Gita and ten other women of Bhardeu have a worm compost business that produces officially certified organic fertiliser for consumer markets. The women package their nutrient rich product into 2-kilogram packages and sell it to wealthy home gardeners in the capital city. Gita is clearly proud of her business.

“All children in the family will get a good education and a good example of cooperation between parents”, Gita says.

When Gita speaks of wealth, she’s not just talking about money, but also about new ideas and opportunities, about a positive change. This is the sort of wealth that Women’s Bank wants to increase through its work.

Edited by Kaisa Arkkila from material collected by Ulla Sarasalmi.

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