Devi Maya's Story
Devi Maya – a 50 year old Nepali dalit woman in the Parvat district – hadn't even finished 3rd grade before she had to drop out of school to take care of her brothers and sisters. Once they grew older and started families of their own, Devi was left to live alone. Single and without education, she struggled to make ends meet.
One pivotal day, Devi Maya walked into the new READ library that had just been launched in her village. Although she had a limited literacy level, she picked up a book and was determined to read it front to back, and she quickly fell in love with the experience of connecting with a new story. She began to visit the library regularly, soaking up more and more novels and steadily reaching higher levels of literacy.
By 2014, Devi Maya had developed a close connection with the READ Center and attended an incense-making training held there as part of a women’s empowerment project. After taking the training with 35 other women, she made and sold 600 pieces of incense at the local market. With the profit, she bought shares of the READ Center’s Women Savings Cooperative and now has a substantial savings fund – a complete turn around from her life only 20 years prior.
“Because of the READ Center, I developed a book-reading habit, which allowed me to have the opportunity to participate in women’s empowerment trainings," Devi Maya says. “I’ve started earning and saving money, and I’m no longer financially insecure in my old age. I am very happy now.”
Devi Maya sits proudly with her hand-made incense