Small Courtyard Home to Family Enterprise
Bhim Kumari Mahato has a beautifully kept courtyard with chickens, a small hatching unit, pig pens and a goat shed. She is exuberant about what the future holds for her family. Her husband is a former army officer. Together they are raising two delightful children.
With three different types of livestock in her backyard, Bhim Kumari has no time to think about the past. She was deprived of basic education and financially struggled to raise two kids. “Earlier, I couldn’t even write my own name” she recalls the days when she hesitated to walk out of her house to socialize with her community. “I used to be afraid because I didn’t know what to say.”
Today, Bhim Kumari a confident community member.
She is part of the Naya Paila women’s group, a resident of Hupseykot Rural Municipality, Nawalpur, and a member of the Lekbeshi Cooperative.
When Bhim Kumari learned about a women’s group in her community, she thought of joining. “I wanted to experience what it felt like to be in a women’s group,” she said. “It was there where I received many training and even learned to write my name.” Along with a multitude of trainings, she received two female goats from Heifer Nepal. That’s when things began to change. A budding entrepreneur, Bhim Kumari applied her new found knowledge, which is visible in the well-maintained goat sheds, pigpens and chicken yard.
She is successfully capitalizing on her skills and knowledge to make change in her family. Her annual income from the livestock alone is more than $3,000. This festive season alone, she sold seven goats for about $600. She values education and invests her income from livestock to send her kids to school. Bhim Kumari invested about $2,000 in an improved goat shed and quickly recouped income from that investment. “None of my animals have died since I have started which is probably due to proper care,” Bhim Kumari said with pride. Her animals receive proper nutrition from the ample number of fodder and forage she planted on an adjacent plot of land.
Currently holding 19 goats in her shed, Bhim Kumari plans to increase her flock size to 50 within the next two years. After adding eight pigs and more than 100 local breeds of chicken, her small backyard aims to provide a decent income. Bhim Kumari has measured the potential in this farm enterprise and is determined that she will continue in the years to come. She and her husband take care of the animals while the kids do chores. Starting a farm enterprise, she has diligently followed Heifer’s Pass on the Gift philosophy and feels like she has a role to play in the development of her community.
A wonderful example of how the proper utilization of resources can bring much needed change in the poor farming communities, Bhim Kumari is striving to become a successful entrepreneur and seeks the support of her cooperative to find markets for her products. She has been actively involved in the live weight collective goat marketing and has escaped the false promises of the middlemen. With her animals in her small courtyard, she envisions a happy family with a decent living income and proper education for her children.