Breaking the social taboos

Nandulal Dhami and Lal Bahadur Rokaya, aged 32 and 48 years respectively, are resident of Gaumul rural municipality (former VDC known as Dahakot) of Bajura district. Both are from Khas/Chettri background and have come forward breaking the social norms by adopting the profession that are still considered as the job of Dalit or lower caste in our society. Communities from where Nandulal Dhami and Lal Bahadur Rokaya have come from are Khas/Arya communities. There are no Dalits and Janjatis people living in or nearby those communities. There is nobody who could make iron tools and equipment’s required for farming and sewing clothes nearby the communities. Therefore, peoples had to walk 1-2 days to reach Martadi, only nearby market, to purchase and repair agriculture tools, iron item and for tailoring clothes. Besides that, both are from poor economic background with little farm production and no alternatives source of livelihood. When SAHAS Nepal facilitated the group formation and started to mobilize them by providing right based approach training, caste and gender discrimination, Nandulal Dhami and Lal B. Rokaya came forward asking support for their plan of running their own business of tailoring and blacksmith in their own communities. They explained there is potential to flourish their business if they could provide the services in their own communities for which people has to travel 1-2 days which is both time consuming and expensive to them. After the groups’ recommendation and promise to run the business for long period of time, SAHAS Nepal supported blacksmith tools and equipment to Lal Bahadur Rokaya and sewing machine to Nandulal Dhami. After some informal training, both started their business and are providing their services to the communities. Now, community people do not have to walk for days just to repair or to make new iron tools. Similarly, they are now able to sew their cloth in their own community saving both time and money for travelling. This has also benefitted to both service provides, Nandulal and Lal Bahadur as they are now able to earn more money than they used to earn and fulfilling their family needs. Nandulal is earning easily Rs. 5000-8000 monthly whereas Lal Bahadur is able to earn Rs. 2000-3000 monthly in cash and kinds. There have also been changes in societal perception that the tailoring and blacksmith jobs are only for lower caste people and they only should not be involved in those professions. People have started to respect the dignity of labor by welcoming the changes and supporting their profession.