Blog – Feature Success Story
Mina Mahato got married when she was 16 years old. She had never thought that one day she would make a name for herself. She is 31 years old and lives in Tikapur, Kailali with her two children. Her husband works in a gas station in Bardiya.
Mina belongs to an indigenous caste Tharu. For almost three generations Tharu have suffered a lot. They were discriminated by the so called high caste settlers. Due to lack of awareness and proper education they lost their traditionally owned land to those settlers and were treated as slaves and labourers. There came a time when Tharu had to work as bonded labourers. One cannot even imagine how difficult it had become for Tharu to struggle for fulfilling even basic needs. Today these bonded labourers are freed and are struggling to lead a good life. Mina lives in a community of Tharu and freed bonded labourers. She has not faced the same prejudice but she has heard stories from elders and knowing about their suffering she wanted to help them have a better life. Mina used to run a small cosmetic shop but she wanted to do something concrete that benefits the community. She is a member of HUDAS an organization which works in the field of human rights and regularly participate in programs organized by them.
Many villages nearby did not have access to clean technology. Therefore when she got chance to join Kalpavriksha’s distribution network and start a clean energy business enterprise holding a social motive, she felt this was her chance to give something to her community and the people.
Mina established her enterprise Prekshya Saurya Urjah in April, 2016 and has been selling clean technology products. In Kailali people were compelled to live with unreliable electricity and had no access to portable solar lights. She has been able to sell the products that were not available in her villages as well as has been able to give job opportunities to those with limited qualification and education. Being in the network of Kalpavriksha gave her all the skills required to run a successful business. She has learnt financial management, inventory management and communication skills through trainings received from there. She shared that earlier she was just a common shop owner but today with the help of program support from Kalpavriksha, she is skilled business women. Now she has built all the confidence an entrepreneur requires. She not only sells products promoted by Kalpavriksha but is also able to find different products demanded by the customers, reach out the suppliers herself and provide them through her shop to the customers.
Mina is very happy to be in Kalpavriksha’s distribution network. She said,” I have an experience of working as field mobilizer in other organizations. Whenever I worked in the community my hard work was appreciated but my name was always overshadowed by organization’s name. I was representing that organization only. But today people know me as Mina Mahato, CEO of Prekhsya Saurya Urjah. I feel proud of myself and this feeling is beautiful.”
Mina’s customer were happy to have access to clean technology at their door step. Those who were living in darkness during power cuts now have solar lamps. In her community they don’t have of clean drinking water and people suffer from diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid due to dirty water. Therefore when Mina made Water filter available to the community, they were very happy. This lead to access to clean drinking water to the people who were drinking contaminated water. Mina with continuous support from Kalpavriksha has been able to earn more money and making a mark on the people’s lives.