In Nepal, women affectionately call each other didis, meaning sisters. Meet the women who make all of this possible.
Jamuna Thapa Magar
Jamuna started knitting when she had to drop out of her studies for a few years because of financial constraints. Since joining Haushala, a place that she describes as encouraging and inspiring, she has become more social and a stronger person due to her interactions with the other women. Not only has Haushala been a place for Jamuna to learn new skills and derive income for her and her family, but Haushala has also agreed to educate Jamuna.
Pammi Tamang is the head knitting trainer at Haushala, where she guides the women in terms of skills and personal advice. In her own words, there is trust among the women here and she is very proud to be working at an organization where women are helping other women. Haushala has provided Pammi with a safe space to work, flexible work hours, and financial security.
Kamala helps to lead the design and price management processes for Haushala. As a mother of two, she wants to be able to save money to provide her children with proper education. Haushala has not only helped her earn more money through the sale of products, but has also helped her gain leadership and time management skills. Kamala feels that she’s also contributing in meaningful ways to the organization and the women she works with.
Forced to quit her studies due to financial reasons and unable to migrate for work because of her poor health, Riya has become one of the youngest members to join Haushala. She has described herself as having a fighting attitude and is now learning to knit and make products to sell so that she can develop her skills and be independent. She dreams of starting her own business one day.
Monica came to Kathmandu at the age of 27 with the hopes of earning a decent living. She comes from a family of subsistence farmers who didn’t have enough money to provide for all of her siblings. She has been coming to Haushala for knitting training and in her words: is making her dream of doing something for a living come true.
Ashmita Tamang, age 24, is currently in her third year of a Bachelors degree in education. Ashmita wanted to utilize her free time to engage in good cause when her sister, Kamala, recommended Haushala to her. Upon arrival, Ashmita found the work environment at Haushala extremely friendly and immediately felt at home. She has learned more about the value of equality though CYF’s belief in standing against discrimination based upon any person’s background or identity. Ashmita is learning self-discipline through fulfilling responsibilities and seeing her commitments to their completion in a professional setting. She also has learned so much from the didis and hearing about their experiences. She continues to find inspiration from how CYF deeply cares for its students and is constantly giving support to everyone in the organization. She has other friends in the education field, but feels that CYF stands out in living up to its mission. Ashmita even envisions to one day take what she has learned and start a similar project that reaches out to help underprivileged children.
Rojina Shrestha, 24, joined Haushala because she wanted to commit to something that she loved to do. She finds the solidarity between the women in Haushala to be extremely encouraging and rewarding. With the other women, Rojina has improved her time management skills through work deadlines, which has carried over into her personal life as well. She feels as though the moral and financial support that Haushala provides is compounded by the supportive spirit of its work family. Rojina has found colleagues that work to help each other in times of difficulty, which encourages her to both contribute to the community and give her the strength to support herself. She believes that if she stays with Haushala, her life will continue to improve: “The future is bright if I work here.” Rojina is married and has a four-month-old daughter, Ivanna, whom she brings to our workspace.
Ambika Tamang, 27, used to work at a publishing house, arranging books and bookprinting. She was looking for more fulfillment from her work when Kamala Tamang referred Ambika to the Haushala cooperative. Ambika already knew how to sew, and she joined the cooperative looking to put these skills to good use. Since joining Haushala, she has expanded her sewing skills, and she says she has found a friendly environment that offers a wealth of knowledge. Ambika enjoys having the opportunity to work with the didis and guest trainers, who all motivate her and encourage new design ideas. Ambika is a fast learner and cherishes work where she can learn new things. In hopes of learning as much as she can, Ambika plans on being at Haushala for a while to come. Ambika's husband currently works abroad, and they have a two-year-old son.
Pramila Tamang, age 21, is the administrative assistant for CYF and Haushala. She finished her Bachelors degree in Business Studies in 2015. Since she’s been working with CYF, Pramila feels she has continued to develop her personality and now has a different perspective on life. In the past, she used to take many things for granted, but now she appreciates the many wonderful blessings in her life. Pramila took to listening to the story of many didis and getting to know the LVA students on a personal level. She is grateful for Haushala Thapa and views her as a hero and role model. She also credits her father for everything he has done and how hard he has worked to support her, and continue to do so today. Pramila finds self-satisfaction every day by helping other people through her work. To the Haushala didis, Pramila is our “bahini,” or “younger sister.”