Celebrating entrepreneurs who create social, environmental and economic values
Their stories are of hardwork, struggle and community serving. Yet, they have one thing in common—empowering community with their works. The journey of Bishnu Thakali, Thaneshwor Bhusal and Chiran Jeeve Poudel is also inspiring one.
This week, The Kathmandu Post has come up with a story of these three people who are vying for top spot at the ‘Asha Social Entrepreneurs Award’, which is slated for December 18, 2012.
In the time when women weren’t allowed to work and bound in the shackles of society, a group of housewives initiated to work in the field of solid waste management. And we have been working selflessly since then, preserving the environment and turning ‘waste’ into ‘resource’,” says Bishnu Thakali, who initiated a unique venture—Solid Waste Management and Community Mobilization Programme—back in 1990 in Kupundole, Kathmandu. Twenty-two years on, the venture has successfully established 40 biogas plants across the country, while creating 51 Eco-Clubs and 30 women group working under them. The venture is sustaining on amount collected from individual homes, from where they collect solid waste. Apart from this, Solid Waste Management and Community Mobilization Programme converts organic waste into compost fertilizer and recycles waste papers to churn out various useful products. Under this programme, according to Thakali, 30 groups, each working with around 500-1,000 women, have offered services to 20,000 to 25,000 general people. “When we started up, people used to look at us with different perception. But now, it has paid off well, motivating young people to come up with similar ideas which would have a wide impact in the society,” Thakali added.
Chiran Jeevi Poudel
Despite being visually impaired, Chiran Jeevi Poudel initiated Seeing Hands Clinic at Thamel Kathmandu. The clinic while addressing the problem of unemployment to some extent, has also been generating opportunities for visually impaired people in Nepal. “Despite my impaired vision, I have risen to the challenge of running my own business, employing and managing a team,” says Poudel whose unique venture has offered job opportunity to 15 visually impaired people and has raised awareness within the local community about them. The venture has been run through earnings from services and trainings it offers to clients. “Being located in the heart of tourist area there is a high demand for the services and has helped us a lot in making it sustain properly,” Poudel said, adding that most of their service seekers are foreigners. “Now, our aim is to make it a popular destination for Nepalis and make it sustainable through revenue generated from Nepalese people,” he added.
Wastage of local agro-products such as lapsi, oranges, cardamom, ginger and coffee at Mudikwa, Parbat prompted Thaneshwor Bhushal to set up Saamudayik Khadya Prasodhan Udhyog, which could generate income by mobilising such products.
Initiated in the year 2058, the venture has since made a significant contribution to the farmers of Parbat districts by creating an employment opportunity in the village, generating revenue as well as helping in tourism promotion. “Not only the domestic customers, but also from international market too come to us to have a look at our products and they order bulk quantity,” Bhusal said. According to him, they mobilise locals to plant necessary saplings for collection of raw materials and later process it and make consumable. Saamudayik Khadya Prasodhan Udhyog which has eight people on its payroll also offers indirect employment opportunity to around 15 more. “We are making handsome money from whatever we sell,” Bhusal said, adding that quality in products and good packaging has helped their products to make them saleable in national as well as international market.