Building Education works in a slum area called Pragatitole in Pokhara, Nepal. It is located behind the bus station and next to the Pokhara Airport.
The people that reside in this area are of low-caste and because they were not able to afford housing in the city, they settled in this area and created houses and shelters for themselves with what they could find.
While Building Education has spent the last several years supporting the children, we realized that the women, mothers of the children, were very eager to get involved and make a change in their community.
Being of low-caste limits the job opportunities available to the women which keeps the families poor.
After conducting Community Engagement Meetings, surveys, and holding a Women Empowerment Conference (see here / click here) we learned that the best way to empower the community and create a way for the families to earn an income would be to support the women in starting businesses.
We believe in creating a sense of ownership by having the women rise up as leaders, create jobs for themselves, and become self-sustainable.
In our 5 year plans with the women, we provide micro-loans that will support in the funding of their businesses. The women provide 20% of the start-up costs and Building Education supports to provide a loan of 80% which is then planned to be paid back over the course of 5 years. We have found that having the women provide a small portion, they tend to work harder and be more determined to succeed. We believe this provides a healthy motivation for women to fulfill their commitments in business.