The number of Nepali migration workers has been increasing over the past many years, and in the years 2008 to 2017, approx. 3.5 million work permits for Nepalese who dreamed of creating a better future for their families. Nepal is therefore also one of the countries that receive the most money from working family members abroad. Remittances account for one third of Nepal's GDP and have almost tripled since the beginning of the 2000s.
This trend - or necessity, as you might call it, is also evident when visiting the project villages of Gunjara, Lewade and Phallapani. Migration among male family members is high, as employment opportunities in the local area are few.
With the Enhancing rural livelihoods project in Nepal we help create new opportunities in the local areas, which has helped to secure the men's presence in the project villages, and a belief that you can create the opportunities yourself.
Bhanubhakta Dahal lives with his wife, two children and his old mother in the village of Lewade. The family is poor and it has been difficult for Bhanubhakta to provide for his family due to his low income from work in the village. He says he has worked in the Gulf countries to ensure his family's survival. Although he went abroad to work, he has not been able to make enough money to repay the loan he had taken from a local seller to pay his travel expenses. Bhanubhata has no education or specific skills, which made his income in the Gulf countries low. When Bhanubhakta returned to Nepal in mid-2018, he had plans to go back to the Gulf countries to work again as he could not see income opportunities in Nepal. He says he was very frustrated in the time after his return home and the thoughts of the future and his family's survival. He attended a training session about nursery management, which was organized by CHILDREN-Nepal as part of the project Enhancing rural livelihoods project in Nepal. This motivated him to participate in several project activities and he was selected by the village to take part in a study tour which took a group of project participants to Kavre, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur with the aim of visiting other organic farmers who had been successful with their organic agriculture. Bhanubhakta says the visit taught him about organic farming, as well as how to keep cattle as part of agriculture. After his participation in the study tour, Bhanubhakta started growing organic vegetables and keeping cows and buffaloes. He built a small barn in the ruins of his house, which was destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. He recycled the materials from his old house to build the barn, and soon after registered with a local farm company for the purpose of being approved by it local government. Bhanubhakta now has three buffaloes which give milk and he has started selling the milk and making money from it. He is very motivated to keep his small business running and he has decided to focus on it instead of going back to the Gulf countries.
In the village of Gunjara, Ram Chandra has also decided to stay because of the project and the opportunities it has created. Ram had previously worked for six years in the Gulf countries and his original plan was to go back there, but then the village selected him to be a change agent and a first-person. He took part in a study tour that inspired him a lot, and he planned to make compost, grow tomatoes and collect rainwater. Ram is already in full swing with all things and he is very motivated to create good organic farming.
The Enhancing rural livelihoods project has been running for a year and a half and it has already created new opportunities for the farmers in Nepal. All project participants have converted their farming to organic farming and have started growing new crops with great success. We look forward to visiting the project villages again at the start of the new year and to see the developments that have occurred since the last.