A TV programme plants a seed
A TV programme plants a seed

At 35 years of age, Kanchhi Gautam from Jiwanpur watched television for
the first time at her village on 2008. Her brother bought the set after
earning the money from abroad. She got this opportunity because her
family settled in her birth place, despite her marriage in another

One programme she watched was a documentary on Nepali
television about women’s involvement in social activities. There was an
illiterate woman leader in the documentary, leading a group in the
village and having significant impact in the community through the
group. Women were involved in different types of social activities.

documentary really touched to Kanchhi’s heart and planted a tree of
hope in her life to do something good for the community. After watching
the documentary, she planned to form a women’s group in her village and
share with her friends about the documentary, as well as her vision or
dream. She successfully conducted the first meeting with 11 women
secretly in the quiet place, as women were not allowed to be involved in
the social activities at that time. Similarly, the group successfully
conducted a second meeting with 20 women, and third meeting with 35
women, without any support from outsiders, even from the men. They also
put aside NPR 50 (AUD 0.57) as their monthly savings from the beginning.

They faced challenges from the villagers between first and
third meetings. Villagers especially accused Kanchhi, saying that she
will leave the village after collecting the money from the group
members, as her husband’s house was far away. Despite these types of
challenges, all group members trusted Kanchhi and were committed to make
her dream come true.

Finally, Kanchhi’s dream is becoming
reality in the village, as there are 52 women involved in the group, and
it has collected more than NRP 350,000 (AUD 4,000) in savings. They are
also providing loans from NRP 5,000 (AUD 57) to NRP 15,000 (AUD 170)
for different purposes.

Now the group is getting support from
CIRDS, one of UMN’s partners, for awareness and group
management-related issues. They discuss social issues, anti-human
trafficking issues and safe migration issues in their regular meetings.
They can easily share their learning from the group with the family and
others. In addition to this, they are actively involved in supporting
women who experience domestic violence,helping women and families to get
justice, and working towards reunion and reconciliation, where

Because of positive impacts seen in the community by
women’s involvement in the group, all villagers including all group
members now respect to Kanchhi, and everybody says that “this is
because of Kanchhi’s vision or dream that was dreamt five years ago”.

By Shashi Ghalan
UMN Cluster Team Leader

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