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Caritas Nepal’s livelihood program helps women from marginalized groups

Chalmaya Thapa (Photo credit: Caritas Nepal)

A Nepalese woman named Chalmaya Thapa, age 40, has a persistent cervical condition. Due to her deteriorating health, she cannot work in agriculture with her husband to supplement the family's income.

Agriculture is the family's only source of income. She can barely get by on her husband's income for three months. The couple lives in Ekletar, Gaindakot Municipality-3, Nawalpur district, in the Gandaki Province of Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia.

To work in the Gulf as a migrant worker in quest of a better future, Chalmaya's husband secured a loan from a nearby financial institution in 2016. Chalmaya's condition deteriorated, so he returned to care for his wife.

Chalmaya said her husband's income went toward paying for her medical care. The family was again in financial trouble.

The couple applied for a second loan from the cooperative in the middle of 2019 to launch a hotel venture in the hopes of a better future. Sadly, their dreams were shattered when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, and their business gradually dwindled.

Having faced so many challenges and trials, she gradually became hopeless.

"I consider that I am a burden to my husband, who shoulders all the problems of the family," she says.

Amid these concerns, she learned about Caritas Nepal's livelihood programs while venting her suffering to friends.

The Catholic Church's philanthropic institution is called Caritas Nepal. Regardless of caste, creed, ethnicity, or nationality, Caritas Nepal is a non-profit organization that serves the underprivileged, most vulnerable, and marginalized people.

It is a member of the 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations operating globally in over 200 nations and territories.

Caritas Nepal’s livelihood program helps women from marginalized sectors find a way to increase their source of income through microenterprise support.

The program helps them with the coordination and capacity building of community members. Using the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) framework, the initiative has been essential in integrating women and vulnerable groups.

Chalmaya is one of 19 women who got microenterprise support to become business owners through this initiative. 

Because of resource shortages following Covid-19, according to her, the women were on the verge of reversing course.

"But at that crucial moment, Caritas Nepal intervened and gave us 20,000 Nepali rupees (151.85 USD), enabling us to continue operating our startups. I have restocked my kitchenware and grocery supplies with this sum," she said.

By providing services to 25 road construction workers in just ten days after receiving assistance, Chalmaya was able to create a net profit of almost 15,000 Nepali rupees (113.88 USD), which she used to pay the loan's monthly installment of 4,000 Nepali rupees (30.36 USD) and make investments in their business.

"Caritas Nepal has played a catalyst role in our lives," Chalmaya said, adding, "I now can happily live without burdening my family with debt." – With a report from Caritas Nepal


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.