Showcasing the individuals who make up the artisan industry.
My name is Durga Maharjan. I’m 35 years old single mother. My daughter is 16 years old and goes to college. Since my husband left me when my daughter was a child, we are just two in the family, mother and daughter. My daughter solely depends upon me as I’m the only bread-earner in the family and there’s no one besides me that contribute to my family’s financial welfare. My form of employment is tailoring and I’ve been in this particular job for six years.
I live in a typical Nepali community where people are friendly but very conservative. Since I’m a single mother in a conservative community I face lots of challenges in my day to day life. I can’t openly express my views in the community, I don’t get equal opportunities and more over, they see me as a cast-out and blame me for my husband leaving us. Besides these I face lots of challenges bringing up my daughter in the community where women are constantly dominated and suppressed.
I found out about Higher Ground through my Uncle and Aunt who also works at Higher Ground. After coming to Higher Ground I’ve been able to sharpen my skills. Before coming to Higher Ground, I had only been stitching clothing. Now I’ve developed my stitching skills to include bags and other home decor items. I can now make bags with better finishing quality. Prior to this, I used to work at tailor shop nearby my house and would only clothing. In addition to learning how to make new items I also learned about design and different cutting techniques.
Higher Ground has also helped with grants for my daughter’s education and other benefits, such as medical welfare and provident funds. I don’t have to worry about my daughter’s education anymore and fully concentrate on my job. I’ve earning skills now which makes me independent wherever I go and enables me to take care of my daughter’s need.
Working for Higher Ground has increased my overall income up to three folds. Now I’m able to meet the needs of my family and take very good care of my daughter’s need. My living standard has increased due to the higher wage I’m now paid compared to my previous job. Since people love Higher Ground bags and place an order I think my role has helped Higher Ground business to increase.I work hard and diligently to produce beautiful bags.
I can cite my financial independence as one of my success. In the past years, my 16 years old daughter completed her schooling and my biggest challenge was to admit her to a good college. Since education is very expensive in Nepal I was disheartened by the thought of not being able to help my daughter pursue further higher studies so I prayed earnestly and my prayers was answered when Higher Ground granted the money for admission fees for my daughter. As a single mother, I can understand how difficult it is to raise a child when you’ve no support. I feel honored to be a part of Higher Ground’s mission which is helping not only single mothers like us but many women and children at risk.
In the coming year, I hope to sharpen my own skills and help other women like me to gain skills so that they can live their lives independently with dignity.