Punya Bahadur Karki was born in Molung Rural Municipality of Okhaldhunga district 27 years ago. As his family was not in the position to afford his further study, he headed to Kathmandu in search of employment immediately after passing SLC from a local school. With the support from an acquaintance, he got work in a hotel named ‘Organic Club Hotel’ in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. In that hotel, he worked as a dish washer for a period of one and half year. The hotel owner provided him accommodation facility, food and paid NRs. 5000 per month. His earning was quite meager, his job was very tiresome whereas the expenses in Kathamndu were too high to be met with his kind of job. All these factors started to bother him, and he began to lose interest in his work. He moved to Biratnagar, and he found a new job with the support of a friend. There, he worked as a dish washer in Hotel Agan. He managed to prepare for 10+2 examination even while working as a dish washer.
With his dedication and interest, he succeeded in passing the 10+2 examination without attending any class. That success intensified his desire to pursue his study further. With the aim of perusing Bachelors’ degree from the campus of his village, he returned back home. He was glad to have been able to pursue his study by staying with his family and supporting them in farming. Nevertheless, lack of good income source kept on bothering him. Due to poor economic condition of his family, he was yearning for earning opportunities. He tells how he got earning opportunity when he was in the quest of it, “One day, I noticed a pamphlet pasted on electricity pole near my house. As the title of the notice mentioned of training, it caught my attention. I started reading it. The announcement was about opening of Commis III training which was about to be conducted by Trace Private Limited under SAMRIDDHI, a project of Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) which is being funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and technically supported by Helvetas Nepal. As I had prior experience of working in the hotel sector, I applied for the training and got selected. I successfully attended the training that ran from 14th June 2019 to 5th September 2019.”
He was harboring a dream to open his own hotel in Okhaldhunga bazar immediately after completing the training. However, he did not have capital to invest in the venture. Upon his request, his father arranged NRs. 70,000 for him. With that amount he bought some chairs, tables, utensils, and other required kitchen items. He convinced a local vendor to provide him furniture and a refrigerator on the condition of gradual payment. By renting a small shutter in Okhaldhunga bazar, he started his own restaurant ‘Anupam Momo Center’. He pays NRs. 15,000 as the rent for the shutter. In his restaurant, he serves cuisines such as Momo (veg, chicken, buff) and chow mien (veg, chicken, buff), Newari snacks, chicken chili, leg piece, tea, coffee, and cold drinks. The monthly transaction of his restaurant rages from NRs. 1,50,000 to NRs. 2,00,000. His monthly saving from the enterprise is around NRs. 30,000. His wife assists him in his enterprise. Just after four-months of his business startup, he paid back to his father and the furniture vendor. He does daily saving in three local cooperatives. With the very income from his enterprise, he has been able to buy a bike and pay premium for the life insurance of NRs. 1,000,000. He joyfully shares, “It makes me happy that I am continuing my study along with managing my restaurant. This business which I started with the investment of NRs. 200,000 now possesses the property which is equivalent to rupees five lakh.” He has plan to turn the restaurant into a hotel with remarkable accommodation and food services. Comparing his present condition with his old day struggle, he says, “At that time When I was struggling hard in Kathamndu and Biratnagar as a dishwasher, I could not imagine of my present dignified and happy life. Such positive changes have been possible only because of the training that I received from SAMRIDDHI Programme.”
He thanks involved service provider and SAMRIDDHI team members for providing him an opportunity to get such a life changing training. He concludes the conversation by stating on the possibility of being employed in one’s own place through skills.