Maiti Majhi was selling goods to her customers outside the main gate of Tribhuwan International Airport when the ground started to shake all of a sudden. “I was helpless when the ground started to shake violently. Everybody was running here and there to find the safe place but I had no second option than praying for the tremor to stop very soon”, recalls Ms. Majhi, a wheel chair user who runs a petty shop outside the main gate of Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Ms. Majhi (52 years) who is a second wife of Mr. Ek Raj Majhi originally comes from a poor village in Sindhupalchowk, a remote district in the northern belt of Kathmandu. With the unanimous cause (she could not explain the cause), she developed congenital left Hemiplegic at her middle age for which she could not avail further treatment other than the local traditional medications. Because she was unable to carry out household chores and the family needed extra effort to care her, her husband and his first wife started mocking her in her hardship rather than supporting her. Hence, she decided to leave home with her two daughters and fled to Kathmandu some five years back where she stayed at her brother’s place for the initial one and half years. After that, she started a petty business and decided to live independently with her two daughters who now help her commute from home to the place where she runs her business and vice versa.
The 25th April tremor came as an incidence, hard to forget in Ms. Majhi’s life. Despite the fear the family had within, that the earthquake would strike again, they slept inside the rented room just because the place to set up a makeshift was not accessible for Ms. Majhi. Their fear continued for a couple of weeks with recurrent aftershocks. The difficulty in Ms. Majhi’s life even pondered. The indirect effects of the earthquake came in the form of less mobility of the people in and around the airport that hampered her business. This hit even harder on her family because she was already unable to run her petty business due to the recurrent aftershocks, as frequent as 5 -10 times a day in the first month of the earthquake. This jeopardized her business; either she had to look for a loan to buy more things to sell or find other means to make earning.
While she was weighing the ways to save her business or opt for the other, Ms. Majhi came in contact with the team member from KFN. As part of the livelihood support under the project- Disability Inclusive relief and rehabilitation after the earthquake in Nepal funded by SHO Giro 555, Ms. Majhi received twenty thousand Nepali rupees, part of which was used to scale up her petty business while the rest was deposited in her bank account for future expansion of business. As part of the monitoring system of her daily income, the project team has adopted a daily income and expense monitoring sheet which is filled by the family on a daily basis and a monthly report is submitted to a KFN team member. The initial month report on the IGA has been promising despite the downfall of country’s economy due to undeclared blockade from the Indian side. In a visit made to her business stall, she was seen happy to have made more earning and saving made each day. In her words, she shared, “The support has enabled me to increase my daily income and I have been able to meet my children’s basic needs. I am thankful to the organization.” Two of her children are currently studying; one in her high school while the other is in her primary level.
Karuna team plans to follow up and provide necessary insights at least for a year so that the family emerges more independently financially to cater their needs.