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Earning from charcoal has given confidence to plan for daughters’ education

Purna Bhahadur Praja (Chepang) is a habitant of Korak VDC, Dadh Khola. Being a member of Chepang community, one of the most deprived tribal communities of Nepal, his life was full of adversity. It was very difficult for him to manage hands to mouth for his family of 13 people including 11 children. Among his 11 children, he managed to send his 3 sons to the school. Owing to the economic hardship and social opinion that girls are meant to be sent off after marriage, he could not prioritize education for his daughters. In order to earn living, his children used to work in other people’s field and breed goats. Frequently, Purna Chepang had to go away from home in order to work as a labour for 2/3 month. He had very bitter experience of being employed as a labour
in the past. He sourly recalls, “The contractors used to take me in distant places in order to make me work as labour by promising to pay Rs. 700 per day. However, I used to be paid merely 150 for a day. That too was done long time after the completion of the assigned work”. He doesn’t have any fond memories to cherish his past as it was full of troubles. Nevertheless, now his life condition is improving. It was two months ago, he got an opportunity to be enrolled in a charcoal production training, organized by Namuna Biomass Private Limited with the support of Bio-energy Project.

In the beginning, he was skeptical about the possibility of earning money by producing charcoal with the wasted biomass shrubs. Nonetheless, he started producing charcoal with a charring kiln which was lent by Namuna Biomass Private Limited. Within a week of starting the work, he realized that he could earn NRs. 400 – 450 per day by producing charcoal and selling it to Namuna Biomass Private Limited. After being convinced of it, he borrowed loan from local cooperative and installed 3 more charring kilns. He enthusiastically tells, “We have been continuously producing charcoal for two months. As the result, I have been able to earn NRs.25000 deducting the expenses that is involved in charcoal production. With this very earning, I am paying the loan that I took for buying charring kilns. Now I am very happy as I don’t have to go away for work. As the result of getting involved in this work, I have not only been able to earn NRs. 13000 to 15000 per month but been able to provide work opportunity to other 8 persons as well.” He further says, “This improved economic condition has made me confident enough to plan for the education of my daughters too. I am hopeful that my children will not have to face the difficulties as we did. I am grateful to Namuna Biomass Private Limited and Bio-energy Project for providing this life opportunity.”