Khuna, the dress maker

Saturday 12 August 2017

Khuna was married off at the age of 21. Her family chose a husband for her. She had to quit her education after grade seven due to family pressure. After marriage, she shifted to her husband's home with dreams and aspirations for future. But, life had only misfortunes and sorrows in stock for her.

Immediately after marriage, her husband left for India like many men in her village in search of work. He did not return, nor did he contact Khuna or the family. For no fault of hers, the community started treating her unfairly, constantly reminding her that she has been left neglected and forgotten. "People are always rude and unfair towards a woman without a husband in our society," says Khuna.

She could not do anything. She also could not leave her husband's house as in rural Nepal, a married woman does not have a place to go except for her husband's home.  She continued listening to the taunts directed at her. However, things would soon change for her.

"Life was difficult until I was selected for a dress making training," Khuna says. After the two month long training period, she gathered enough courage to start her own tailoring shop. Over time, her designs and skill improved and she acquired a loyal clientele. "Providing my customers with new designs makes me happy," Khuna says. She feels powerful with a skill and financial independence.

Khuna earned 60,000 rupees in Dashain (Nepal's biggest festival). Her income exceeds 15,000 a month these days. Khuna has secured her future by adopting a skill and is also supporting other girls to become skilled and independent. She has 4 trainees who learn stitching skills from her and also support her in minor sewing works. She spends her income on investing back in her business and also supporting her husband's family.

Khuna is one of 46 youths receiving vocational training from CLSP, a project that aims to improving the lives of children in Udayapur, through livelihoods and social protection. Khuna further plans to take loan from Revolving and Child Endowment Fund supported by CLSP.  She hopes to hire some staffs and expand the business. With financial independence, respect from society followed. She is considered an exemplary youth in her village now  who turned her fate around for better with her own skills.