Ishwori Jaisi, 26, had always dreamed of starting her own successful business.
Since she had to stop studying in elementary school, she lacked opportunities to develop her technical and entrepreneurial skills, and made her living selling fresh milk in her village of Bhajani VDC, Kailali. Ishwori’s story is common in Nepal where for many young rural people, starting a viable business is more a dream than a realistic option. Instead, they are forced to rely on traditional agriculture as their main source of income or migrate to urban areas to take menial jobs.
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.
To empower youth and develop their leadership, vocational, and life skills, READ Nepal launched a Youth Program in the Janata READ Center. With the support of Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), READ Nepal provided vocational training to help villagers create income-generating opportunities for themselves./p>
This was a great opportunity for Ishwori to achieve her dream of starting her own dairy business. She completed a two-month dairy course where she learned how to process cheese, paneer, and curd, and even received money for a refrigerator for her new dairy shop. Now, Ishwori says she can earn NRs 12,000 to 15,000 (USD 120 to 150) in a month.
“Being a female entrepreneur means getting to make decisions and the ability face challenges with confidence,” says Ishwori. She feels proud of herself because as a woman and a housewife, she is able to support her family financially unlike other young women in her community.
Ishwori has proven that young women can be entrepreneurs too. Thanks to the youth empowerment program, hundreds of young people now have the chance to develop the skills and confidence they need to start their own business in their own villages.