Fruitful Partnership with SPACE helped to Restore Life of Kamaiyas in Dignity

The closure of the cooperation project with the “Society for Participatory Cultural Education (SPACE)” benefiting the Kamaiya community, consisting of former bonded labors, was celebrated on 28. June 2015. The “Community Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihood Program (CESL)” started in October 2009 and benefited 2500 Households in five Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Bardiya District, in Mid-Western Nepal. The project brought positive changes towards the target groups in context of social acceptance, economic and social empowerment such as education and basic sanitation.

The final project closing ceremony was organized in Deudakala VDC amid of other project VDCs representatives, representatives of local advisory committee members, media representative, representatives from AWO International Nepal Office, Chairperson of SPACE. Mrs Ingrid Lebherz, the Managing Director of AWO International Germany also attended the ceremony. Mr. Laxmi Bahadur Maharjan, the M&E Officer of the project shared entire progress of project development and highlighted the trend of increased incomes, the ability to access government services/ schemes, the far beeter access to drinking water, the improved and organic agriculture, improved status of cooperatives build up and supported by the project, about better health & sanitation, increased self-employment of the target groups and about efforts made and success of promoted informal and non-formal education.

A total of 783 shareholders are affiliated in cooperatives where a capital of 6.34 Millions of Nepalese Rupees was mobilized for various income generation purposes. As per the end of project 96 percent of total beneficiaries are using permanent toilets, 1041 HHs enjoy drinking water facilities, and 99 percent of children in school age got a school enrolment through door to door enrollment campaigns whereas 768 beneficiaries became literate. Economic empowerment through various vocational trainings was one of the most successful intervention areas of the project. A total of 167 Kamaiyas were trained in various skills and 91 found employments in the trained sectors.  The project is successful has achieved a  45% higher income at beneficiary level than targeted. More than 78% households received government schemes.

Mr. Bhakta Bahadur B.K., the key member of the Local Advisory Committee member appraised the Freed Kamaiyas situation in the past and today. He appreciated the program implementation model and all the supports to uplift lives of freed Kamaiyas however there are few challenges to sustain the cooperatives which were established in 2012.

Mrs. Kulani Tharu, the Chairperson of Antarnirbhar Cooperative (Dhadawar VDC) thanked to AWO International and SPACE for their restless supports, guidance to restore their life in dignity. She shared her own miserable life experiences and improvements in livelihood through the trainings and continuous engagement in income generation initiatives. She has been able to purchase a piece of land through her own poultry farming income. “This would not have been possible without support of SPACE and AWO International”- Kulani said proudly.

Mrs. Ingrid Lebherz, the Managing Director of AWO International extended her happiness towards all seen and reported improvements in live of beneficiaries and wished all Kamaiyas the best for their future life. Mrs. Rejina Joshi, Program Coordinator shared her experiences working together with SPACE and the supported social structures giving some lively examples of all empowerment processes and outcomes of the project. She further thanked SPACE, all target group representatives such as all project stakeholders for their mutual cooperation.

Mr. Surendra Kumar Shrestha, the Chairperson of SPACE thanked AWO International for all technical supports and timely release of funds. In addition, he expressed his gratitude to the beneficiaries for enthusiastic participation during the project implementation and trust to SPACE. He also committed that SPACE will extend its technical support to the project beneficiaries for one more year for the sake of sustainability.

Token of appreciations were exchanged between SPACE, AWO International and Cooperatives. Traditional dances were also performed to celebrate the fruitful project.

AWO International General Manager handing over a to ken of appreciation

Chairperson of SPACE thanks AWO for support

Members of community paying farewell

Representative of social structures have been honored

Project staffs received token of appreciation

AWO team received gifts from Kamaiya Communities

Communities celebrated with local dances

Demonstration of local bee keeping

Handing over of project office infrastructure to SPACE