First the great earthquake of 2015 and then the Covid-19 pandemic, Priyanka Singh Maharajan, 28, a fine art graduate from Kathmandu University, had encountered two big natural disasters that badly hit her aspirations. However, she found a certain respite to make her dream to be an artist and entrepreneur.
Despite facing a pathetic situation caused by natural disasters like earthquake and pandemic, Maharjan learnt new skills during the pandemic which she shared recently with ambassador of European Union to Nepal Nona Deprez, mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Chiribabu Maharjan and other high-level officials from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Tourism Board others when they visited Pilachhen, her locality, to attend the inaugural function.
“It was the best moment in my life when I briefed the success and achievements made by youth like me to move the courts of life. It was a matter of pride to me because I was able to convey feelings of my community to ambassador and other dignitaries,” said Maharjan.
Not only Maharjan, the entrepreneurship training and Technical Assistant Support provided through Parya Sampada project rescued many other youths. Having acquired the new business skill through training and technical assistance, Maharjan has established a fine art studio in her house and increased her income by selling paintings.
Taking systematic approach in entrepreneurship
Maharjan informed that she is impressed with the session of training. She used to give less priority on maintaining proper data of raw materials and sales of goods.
Mahajan said that the training was fruitful for her to develop confidence on scaling up of business, dealing with the customers and keeping the appropriate financial records.
Maharjan was impressed with the ideas, techniques and knowledge shared in the training. She agreed that the ladies could make use of their leisure time in doll making, soap or pickle production.
“The small income can also support family finance,” she said. She was completely confident in establishing a new enterprise of doll production and invited the Parya Sampada team for technical support in future.
Funded by European Union's SWITCH-Asia’s Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth for Heritage Settlements of Kathmandu Valley and implemented by UN Habitat in collaboration with Lalitpur Metropolitan City, local partner Maya Foundation, SABAH Nepal ,(Parya Sampada) project has already restored the area's original aesthetic appearance by preparing a heritage settlement recovery plan, revitalizing Pilachhen pond, constructing Pilachhen Falcha. The project has also assisted local community with home design, developing a tourism development plan, and providing various skill developments training, including music and entrepreneurs course to youth.
With the support, heritage sites damaged by the earthquake have already been restored and skill development and entrepreneurship training provided to SABAH Nepal helped youth like Maharjan to transform livelihood in the community.
After taking entrepreneurship training, nineteen years old Jeena Maharjan has realized a need to expand her small traditional note book making industry. Growing up in the Newar community, she has a keen knowledge and curiosity about many aspects of culture.
After attending 5-day training, she developed the confidence to market her notebook widely as possible. Learning digital marketing, she has been now using social media to reach large numbers of possible buyers.
“I have my own page in instagram. I have been receiving quite a good number of order from customers,” said Maharjan, an undergraduate business student, who have already sold over 500 notebooks this year.
Made by Nepali paper using traditional method, she claimed that her notebook has unique quality. “I am thankful to UN-Habitat, Maya Foundation and trainer organization SABAH-Nepal for providing all necessary support including technical assistance,” said Maharjan who felt proud to present her notebook to ambassador of European Union.
Out of 600, with 105 male and 495 female participants, 448 participants of the training were youths like Maharjan. Conducted by SABAH Nepal, an active partner of the Parya Sampada project, the entrepreneurship training offered most essential help.
“Our skill training aimed to enhance the traditional skill of local community and empowerment tainting has helped local youth and women to make their enterprise organized and sustainable,” said Deepak Basnent, training coordinator of SABAH-Nepal. “We provided training for yomari, local pickle and local soap making to women with a purpose.”
Supported by the European Union and implemented by UN-Habitat Nepal in close collaboration with local government and local community, Pilachhen and Bungamati have shown how it is possible to revive tangible and intangible heritage sites such as Ponds, Patis, falcha and Dharas, the water spouts, helping the switch to green and sustainable settlements.
“Although COVID-19 has affected the implementation of our projects and programs, we are able to successfully complete the project with support from all partners. Along with heritage sites, the project trained local youths on handicraft making and other livelihood options,” said Amit Joshi, Project Coordinator of Pilachhen Reconstruction and Tourism Promotion Project and Maya Foundation.
Destroyed by the great earthquake of 2015, Pilacchen, an ancient Newar settlement of Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC) has now turned into a place where one can see heritage, tradition and livelihood thriving together.
“At a time when Kathmandu Valley’s traditional settlements and skills are disappearing, the support extended by European Union has revived the ancient treasure of Pilachhen,” said Joshi.
Possessing the huge number of tangible and intangible heritage, Pilacchen has the potential to become a big player in tourism sector. The tour guide with an energetic passion and specific package can promote the Nepalese tourism sector to the next level.
Having spent a lot of time to materialize the project organizing meeting with local community, local level and coordinating with local partners, Prabin Bajrachary, Senior Program Manager, UN-Habitat, highlighted the importance of Parya Sampada Project
He said that this is a unique project which involve restoration, youth training, women empowerment and green and sustainable tourism.
“With restoration of all heritage sites and trained youths with entrepreneurship skill, Pilachhen is ready to take off,” said Bajrachaya. “The settlement has already revived its original shape.”