Devaka Shrestha, Changunarayan
Devaka ji comes to visit at ICA Nepal with a few packets of paun (spiced dried fruits). The paun not only sells here in the Nepali market but is also sold in international markets. With locally grown lapsi, which actually grows in abundance in Changu. The women of this progressive women’s group has changed the definition of ‘household women’.
Devaka Shrestha, as much as she looks to be just another woman of a typical Nepali society, is pushing the limits of the Nepali social construct for women. She continues to champion women and their possibilities to be more, to matter. This is why she has a bigger fish in her basket when it comes to achievements. Always enthused to work for community and its people, Devaka ji came in contact with ICA Nepal and is participating in various leadership trainings, devoting herself to community development and women empowerment.
She finished her SLC when other women her age were planning a family. She was not only planning her family but also planning the ways in which the women in her community along with her could prosper. Today she is the president of Chinnamasta Women Saving and Credit Cooperative Society Pvt. Ltd, which was a joint effort of Ms. Shrestha and ICA Nepal but mostly her determination. It has more than 800 members out of which 750 are active female members and has around 30 million transactions annually. The cooperative is now the leading financial institute in the area playing a major role in local development.
Changes in Perception and Practices
Before, the women in her village were limited to households, illiterate and considered themselves as weaker to their counterparts. But today changes can be observed in perception and practices. Women now are actively involved in income generating activities, such as tailoring, sewing clothes, making toys and dolls, pickle making. They actively participate in community development activities such as taking care of the drinking water system, as members of saving and credit programs, etc.
She adds, “Male counterparts in my village have started appreciating the importance of women and therefore started welcoming the suggestions and participation of women in all spheres of life.
Your gifts are helping so many women in Nepal like Devaka ji. Thanks to you, Nepal and the world is a better place.