It was good Saturday morning. We had couple of tea at a local tea shop. Then we went to Mrs. Mandevi and Mr. Upendra’s home at Dhokashi, Panga. Both of them were at “Baiga” (a top floor in newar traditional house normally used as kitchen and dining room). We were amazed to see the Baiga which was filled with textile stocks, screen print frames and bags with smell of fresh ink. The couple was busy with their sewing machine nearby big windows.
“These days we are busy working on aprons for school children and have never done this before, but we never say no to any jobs” said Upendra. They had registered their company named “Moms Felt” two years ago. Initially they were producing different felt products like toys, decorative using felt. Now they have diversified their products, they make cotton shopping bags, aprons, incense holder, and the list is increasing as they love new challenges.
They are selling their products to handicraft shops like Mahaguthi and Dhukuti at major tourist hubs. Similarly, large book stores at Kathmandu also give them regular orders for shopping bag. International seminar and workshop organizers are their regular clients.They also export some hand made goods especially flint products to European countries with the help of some organizations. Likewise their brand ‘sukunda bag’ is famous among women at Panga, Kirtipur.
Upendra worked in Pashmina industry as dying expert for 14 years, whereas Mandevi used to spend more time on doing household jobs. They didn’t have much experiences in this business except some trainings organized by local cooperative and NGO named BSC. “The trainings were basics, however we gained lots of confident, business skills and networking” said Mandevi. They do hits and trails and learn from mistakes, improvise and give perfection to their work. When they need some huge investment they are getting loans from women cooperative Panga Mahila Bachat Sahakari and local finance with minimum interest rates.
Sometimes demands cannot be fulfilled on time due to manpower. They have tried employing local women for some assignments; however the experience was not much good, as people expect for more wages.So they do most of the tasks themselves from cutting to dying, sewing to printing and even distributing with the help of family members.
There are many people who spent their time gossiping, playing cards at ‘Falcha’( a traditional surrounded place made of wood where local people spend their time with friends ), complaining government for unemployment. In contrary, this couple is an example and role model who have demonstrated their efficiency through their hard working. If we have some skills and strong determinations, we can create jobs in our own place with local resources. ‘Hats off’ to both laborious people Mrs. Mandevi and Mr.Upendra.