Sarju’s story

A small child of 10 living in Nepal wanted to know why the women in the streets were so poor and sad. She knew she had enough at home and thought she was rich in comparison.

She wanted to make a difference and knew she could help in some way. She asked her mother if she could help them make some money so they could buy food for their children. Her mother encouraged her to go out and help them and gave her some material to sell at the market to make dresses.

She did this with the help of the women she had met and made enough money to return to her mother – the women made a profit and could buy food for their family . This was the beginning of her small business and with the permission of her father she borrowed more money and developed a cooperative for women.

At 16 years old she was married and suffered abuse over many years from her husband who did not want her to be independent and tried to crush her spirit . She would spend many days crying as she was not allowed to go out and work with the women of the cooperative.

She decided after the birth of her three children that she could not continue to live her life with such unhappiness and broke the rules expected of her as a married woman from her culture and clan . She began to work and support the women through the women’s Ashram and develop the Micro Credit Women’s Cooperative.

Now many women were being empowered and they no longer cried as they were learning life skills as entrepreneurs in business and bringing in a regular income and support for their family.

Today many thousands of women benefit from this cooperative and continue to support each other and many others as they become successful.

They buy wax to make candles, home-made soup and pickles. They now have 3 shops in which to sell their clothes and produce. They recycle old clothes and make baby clothes for new born children and mothers in hospital.

The program has become a holistic program in the Ashram and a community gathering place where families and children come together to give thanks. Celebrations are a normal part of life /culture as they sing and dance and praise the Gods and Goddesses for all they have.

This program has gone into many villages throughout Nepal and with Sarju’s leadership they continue to develop programs with the support of her partners to empower women and work with them. They bring about lasting change in the lives of thousands of women and children in Nepal.

One person has made a difference because she knew as a small child that she could change her world.