Suraj Nepali, 26, is the sole breadwinner in his family. As a member of the lowest caste community in Nepal, Suraj had a hard time finding a stable source of income.
Unable to find work in his hometown of Kalika, Suraj tried looking for work abroad. However, after a discouraging experience working overseas, Suraj returned to Nepal without any opportunities to support his family.
In Nepal, thousands of young people like Suraj do not have access to resources to develop the skills needed to earn a living. To address this, READ Nepal launched a Youth Program in partnership with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) to provide livelihood and vocational skills training so that all members of the community can lift themselves out of poverty.
Eager to start earning, Suraj joined a training course at the Kalika READ Center where he learned how to manage livestock and the basics of starting a business. With the support of the Center, Suraj started his business with a NRs. 300,000 (USD $3,000) loan he secured from a local cooperative.
In 7 months, Suraj went from being an unemployed youth to a determined entrepreneur who runs his own poultry business. Within the first two months of operation, he earned a net profit of NRs. 100,000 and paid back the loan he borrowed. On top of saving NRs. 20,000 per month and renovating his home, he was also able to pay for his brother’s wedding.
“I derive great satisfaction that I could share what I learnt with my friends – it makes me proud. I would like to thank my READ Center for the opportunity,” says Nima, who also visits the READ Center regularly to access books and computers.
“I could not have imagined my life without the support I received from READ and the cooperative,” Suraj recalls. An inspiration to others, Suraj has proven that young people can make a living without going abroad. He encourages the youth to visit their local READ Center so they can gain the skills they need to realize their dreams and contribute to their own communities’ development.