From Simple Girl to Community Role Model: A Tale of Hardwork and Selflessness

Manika in her plastic tunnel

A local Female Community Health Volunteer, Manika Tamang is a determined 33-year-old lady from Balefi Rural

Municipality-4, Dhad. She grew up in a modest family but with her leadership abilities and a voice that carried weight, she worked as a Female Community Health Volunteer in her community. However, she also had to take on the household responsibility, as a daughter-in-law and a mother of two children. Her days were filled with chores, taking care of animals, and growing crops like rice and wheat.

But life wasn’t easy. Getting water meant walking half an hour and waiting in line for hours. With little income from agriculture, it was difficult to engage in other income-generating activities due to water scarcity in her village. She often spent most of the day fetching water. However, things changed when ISAP brought water closer to her home. Manika’s household was chosen to benefit from this project, and suddenly, getting water was as easy as turning on a tap. With the availability of water, Manika saw new possibilities. She joined agriculture programs supported by the PIWAAI project. Instead of just growing basic crops, she learned to cultivate a variety of vegetables like seasonal and off-seasonal cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, bitter gourd, etc. She even got a plastic house to help with her farming and received training on the cultivation technology of different crops and pest management techniques.

Inspired by visits to other farms and training sessions, Manika aimed higher. She expanded her plastic-house farming to two houses. She produces around 2000 kg of tomato inside her plastic house. She also cultivates different seasonal and off-seasonal vegetables. She runs a vegetable collection point where farmers can bring their vegetables, and she sells them in the market. With hard work, she earned Rs 60,000 from her plastic houses and more from selling other vegetables each year.

Not only did her income improve, but Manika also gained respect from fellow farmers using the power of her voice. She became a role model for women in her community. She says, “We don’t need to look far to succeed; it can be made possible through skills, hard work, and the opportunities and resources that pave the way for growth and progress.”

Manika’s success not only changed her life but also helped her send her daughter to a good school in Kathmandu. She’s even supporting her younger sister’s dreams abroad. Through determination and learning, Manika’s journey is a testament to her remarkable ability to balance multiple roles and responsibilities given the right opportunities, tools, and resources to uplift themselves and their community.