Amar Bahadur Thanet, 41, of Kolhuwa, Ledha village, barely made ends meet to feed his family of five on his income from farming.
“Most of the time it was even harder to manage money for my children’s education. I was not aware of what else I could do to have better income,” he said.
Over half of Nepal’s population live below the poverty line. For many, like Amar, who live in rural areas, the lack of infrastructure and access to employment opportunities means they struggle to earn enough to improve their families’ lives.
Amar’s fortune changed when he learned about the livelihood training courses offered at the Fulbari READ Center, where he is a member of the Library Management Committee. READ Centers provide educational resources and training programs focused on creating livelihoods to help villagers overcome poverty. Along with 25 other participants, Amar completed a course in fish farming, and gained basic skills in financial literacy. His new skills motivated him to apply for a NPR. 500,000 (USD 5000) bank loan to set up three fish ponds.
From a farmer with no assets, Amar now earns between NPR. 60,000 to 90,000 ($600-$900) in annual net profit, and is expanding his business. He plans to set up a rice mill and more fish ponds.
He is just one of hundreds of rural villagers who have gained skills that enable them to earn a living, and invest in their families and the development of their communities. The financial literacy courses and income generating opportunities have unlocked the potential of rural men and women in launching and growing their own businesses in industries such as souvenir making, bee-keeping, and mushroom-farming.
“I’m now comfortable to manage my household expenses and can now afford my children’s education. I am very thankful to Fulbari READ Center for helping local farmers have better knowledge and earn more income leading towards a comfortable life,” Amar said.