I first met Janice Reid when we attended the first meeting of Rotarians on board the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2011, as is usual when Rotarians get together we each in turn give a resume on what we are doing. Janice intrigued me when she mentioned Micro Finance. I had heard of work being done with great success in India using Micro loans to empower women. Janice and I met again to talk further. Janice had been to Nepal and was concerned about the poverty.It is one of the poorest countries on the Planet. We decided to help. My charity and my Rotary Club have been involved ever since.The usual way it works is to describe it as a circle of women who in the first place draw lots as to who will be first to receive a loan. As each repays the loan others join the circle. The scheme works with very few defaults.
In our case we thought that it would better to fill bellies first. We believed that if we could provide each lady with a goat it would enable milk for the family and a little over to sell. We still had the circle of women and the system worked. Each lady who got the first goats gave its first born to the next in line. Janice and I raised enough money ourselves plus my Rotary Club, and not forgetting my pals Pag and Jill, and a Rotary grant to provide 350 goats; and by our calculations the goats will have done the rest themselves in the last 7 years. So each of the 3000 ladies should have a goat. We then assisted with a women’s eye camp, and a women’s medical camp who travelled from Australia led by Janice. They expected about 80 and 400 turned up.
We were then fortunate to work with another a local Rotary Club in Hetauda, here we provided the funds, and help was given in micro loans to the various start up businesses. these ranged from a variety of small shops to dressmakers, and the building of several carts for road side sales. We also supported raising buffalo, goats of course, and pigs. Unfortunately there is still a caste system in Nepal and the Dallits (untouchables )are at the bottom of the heap. They are also the only ones to eat pig so we were able to help.We also helped with the growing of vegetables. You would assume that Nepal has enough problems but two major earthquakes has added to their plight. we have sent money for blankets, mosquito nets, children’s clothes, and shelter to ease their pain. If all that wasn’t enough India closed its border and many Nepalese faced hunger.
The earthquakes caused 9000 deaths, injured 17000, destroyed 500,000 homes and also destroyed 5000 schools. They are a stoic wonderful people and deserve better. We are still involved.