Nepal – “Economic empowerment alone does not bring happiness” – Dalchini Purkoti

Dalchini Purkoti has worked hard to earn an income from growing tomatoes - but stressses, "that economic empowerment alone does not bring happiness"

Text – LWF Nepal

Photo – LWF Nepal

Ms. Dalchini Purkoti, a resident of Chhampi Village Development Committee (VDC), Lalitpur and a mother of two children began to face problems when her mother-in-law expelled her from her extended family due to her drunkard husband. When she was part of the extended family she could at least feed her children properly. Now she had the problem of feeding her children and her drunken husband would continue to steal rice and other items from her to get the money to buy alcohol.

But her life took a turn for the better when she joined Chhampi Devi Women’s Savings Group. She started saving NPR 20 per month (about 28 US Cents). Seeing her difficulties in raising children and taking care of other household needs, other group members suggested that she start vegetable farming. Although she was hesitant because she had hardly any land for farming the group members convinced her that she could produce marketable vegetables even on the very small piece of land that she had.

The Community Based Organization, Chhampi gave her a loan of NPR 5,000. (about 70 USD).  She was excited and built a plastic tunnel to farm tomatoes. With hard work and compost fertilizer, she  produced 500 kgs of tomatoes in the first season which she sold for NPR 27,000 (about 380 USD). She not only managed to pay back the loan quickly but was also able to cover other household costs. Nowadays, she has become a semi-commercial vegetable farmer. Because of her involvement in the group another organization working in the area has supported her with building a toilet.

But while she has been empowered economically, her real problem persists. “I earned from the tomato farm but it did not bring me happiness,” she said adding, “my husband steals tomatoes from the farm so he can continue to buy alcohol!” She said that she has now realized that along with the economic empowerment programs there should also be programs to address problems like the one she is facing at present.

According to her, almost all the women in her VDC are facing similar problems. “Therefore, the CBO should not only work towards economic empowerment of women, but also support the social campaigns to address issues like the ones I am facing as well as addressing other social malpractices  faced by other women, in the hope towards a better life,” she said.

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