One of TRIFC’s newest pilot projects is one in which mother’s of children with disability are receiving training in candle-making!  Now, the typical non-Nepali person may well be asking, “why would you do training for candle-making, isn’t that more of a hobby than a job???”  Here’s why:  a fact of life here in Nepal is that electricity is not a 24-hour proposition.  In fact, many months of the year, the reality is that you may only have electricity 4-8 hours per day, and even that might come while you are sleeping!  So, what’s a person to do for light, especially in rural, village areas where you can’t afford solar power or rechargeable flashlight?  You need to buy candles, of course!

Our Group Receives Training

Six women and one man with disability have received this training.  We are working in cooperation with the Center for Independent Living (CIL) and the Rotary Club of Pokhara-Fishtail, who helped arrange the training, purchase of materials and all  logistics.  Particularly critical to our program has been Rotarian Binod Sharma and Hem Gurung from CIL.

Rotarian Binod Translates
Beautiful Work!

Our TRIFC team consisting of myself, Sita Gyawali, Balram Dongol, Rose Stevens and Jamuna Subedi met with our pilot group at the CIL in Pokhara.  They had many samples to show us with the different candle designs.  We were happy to note that in addition to the standard candle used during power outages they were also producing beautifully designed candles in different shapes and sizes for use during the various Nepali holidays and festivals!

After introductions and preliminary discussions, we got down to the important part- How is this program working for the group and how is it impacting their lives?  We told them that we wanted honest, candid feedback.  Woman after woman (and man!) told their personal stories and, so far, this simple program has had great impact for them.  One of the women was so passionate while speaking about how much she was enjoying this program and how she was able to include her son with cerebral palsy in the candle-making process.  She is a true entrepreneur/salesperson and told the group how she was selling the candles and shared her excellent sales techniques!   Another one of the six women had had some difficulties getting started with the program and initially made the wrong size and type of candles (there are different ‘molds’ for different types/styles of candles) so she had used up much of her supply of candle wax.  Upon hearing her troubles, the rest of the group offered to help her out.  It was so heartening to hear that kind of kindness cooperation develop within the group.

 

Our hope is to have this project work as a micro-credit enterprise.  The women are already contributing a portion of their earnings right back into the project to help defray the training and start up costs.  In that way our program can go on training and empowering more women who have children with disabilities!

-Rob Rose