Knit one, purl one
Knit one, purl one

Most of us see knitting as a hobby, something to fill in long winter evenings. But knitting is much more than a hobby for Dhan Rupa, whose life has been such a struggle. It’s a source of hope.

When she was just a baby, Dhan Rupa fell into the open cooking fire in her hut and burned her left hand badly. With no proper medical treatment, the scar tissue tightened, leaving her with a useless hand. Then, when she was just a year old, her mother died giving birth to her little brother. Her father, however, cared very much for his family, and his disabled daughter.

When she was about five years old, her father made the long journey to Kathmandu with her for treatment. The scar tissue had to be cut, and part of her little finger removed. Sadly, just a year later, her beloved father also passed away. Her older sisters and brothers continued to look after her, and she was able to complete Grade 5.

Then, as is the usual practice in Mugu, she was married at 12 years of age. Her new family had very little land – they could only grow enough for three months of the year. Her husband worked as a carpenter the rest of the time, to earn some money. From time to time, her brothers and sisters helped them with gifts of grain, clothes, oil and salt.

Now 19, Dhan Rupa and her husband Ram Bahadur have a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Providing for the family continues to be difficult, because Dhan Rupa can’t do heavy work, like cutting firewood, carrying big loads or weeding on the farm. So when UMN’s partner DARRDO (Disabled Development and Rural Development Organisation) offered knitting training, Dhan Rupa signed up straight away. “I hope to learn knitting skills, and be able to knit items suitable for our community, so I can sell them and earn a little money. This will be helpful for my children, so they can go so school,” she said, at the beginning of the training programme.

Story and photos collected by Hira Lal Shrestha, UMN Senior Education Officer, Mugu

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