By Kedar Timilsina, Banepa, Dec. 2: A small factory that five women began in order to utilise their spare time after finishing household works in an investment of just 15,000 rupees has now grown into a business of 300,000 rupees.
The five homemakers had started a different business from what was usual for them in the area of Panauti Municipality-7. They had started shoemaking with a view to doing something different.
Samita Shrestha, a Master's degree graduate, from Panauti Municipality-7, Rabina Saiju, a bachelor's level student, Srijana Khwaju and Ritu Horaju, SLC passed and Rita Karmacharya, eight class passed, started the shoe making business, something none of their family members or relatives have done.
In the beginning, when they were making shoes for women, they were nicknamed as shoe maker from Newar community-Newar Sarki!
They started the shoe making business by registering an organization called Zigu Lanka Jakuthi (Our Shoe Industry) with the objective of running a new business in Panauti. .
Rita Karmacharya said, “We saw most of the women taking beauty parlor, stitching and cutting training, but we wanted to do something new. So we requested for the shoe making training from Small and Cottage Industry office here.”
The officials in the office asked us twice if we really wanted to run the business or would they do it after the training, she said, we promised and we got a month long training.
Another member of the team, Rabina said that after receiving the one month basic training, they got motivated to start business. So five of them started the joint business of shoe making.
They asked for further advanced training with the same office and learned designing as well.
She added that they registered the shoe making business just two months ago in order to better the business and sustain it for the long run.
Samita said that they were criticized and were called Newari Sarki (Sarki being a lower caste involved in shoe making as traditional occupation in Hindu society) while going to take the shoe making training.
They were ridiculed for adopting shoemaking business as some of them were relatively highly educated ones.
Another member of the group, Shrijana Khwaju, said that five of them started making shoes from Rs 15,000 two years ago by raising Rs 3,000 per person. She said that more than three lakh rupees has been invested in the business so far.
She said there was little work during the shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
She said that their work was initially publicized through friends and relatives in Panauti.
She added that their shoes have the market in Panauti and in boutiques of Kathmandu as well.
Ritu Horaju, a member of the group, said that the tools and other materials used to make the shoes were provided by the Cottage Industry Office after seeing the diligence of the five women entrepreneurs in shoe making.
Samita said, “People who used to criticize us in the beginning now come to give the order of shoe. This makes us happy.”
We are moving forward with an aim to expand the shoe making business, by increasing investment, said Rita, another member of the group.