Fulmaya reaches for the summit

Thursday 8 March 2012

In Nepal, Fulmaya Lama has used the resources provided by the Saga Charitable Trust to improve the lives of her family and fellow villagers - and it’s all thanks to the humble buffalo…
Fulmaya with Sharon Moore from Saga Volunteer TravelFulmaya with Sharon Moore from Saga Volunteer Travel

Fulmaya is a Tamang, historically the most underprivileged caste (social class), but has overcome adversity to become President of the Bhattidanda Women’s Co-operative.

The resources of the Saga Charitable Trust have galvanized her energies and latent talents, proving that a little outside guidance and support can inspire local people to become real catalysts for change.

She has made a real impact, improving the prosperity of her village and the prospects of its people, raising their aspirations in the process. And she has done all this while bringing up four daughters on very limited means, determined to ensure that each had the chance of receiving the formal education denied to her.

The lives of Fulmaya, 40, and her four daughters aged 21, 18, 15 and 13, have changed dramatically in recent years, as has her village. It all started with the opening of Himaljyoti School in 2004 and the Trust’s subsequent funding of a buffalo micro-credit scheme in 2007.

Buffalo holders

The buffalo scheme was Fulmaya’s idea, one she conceived when many of the villagers struggled to afford the school fees when it set out to cover more of its overheads.

Fulmaya suggested giving a buffalo to 10 of Bhattidanda’s poorest families who would then pay for one child to attend school from the sale of milk and manure, repaying the cost of the buffalo over two-years into a revolving fund.

The local rotary club manages the programme and has now distributed over 30 buffalo, with amazing results. Standards of living have risen, many families have improved their homes and children are receiving an education… and all through Fulmaya’s inspired idea of helping families acquire a buffalo of their own.

Fulmaya has become something of a role model and her confidence and leadership skills have blossomed. She now reports regularly to business leaders of the Rotary Club in Kathmandu, armed with spreadsheets and accounts.

She has also spearheaded a homestay programme in the village. Four homes now take in foreign visitors, developing lasting friendships and helping to secure the village’s economic development. You can find out more at www.bhattedandahomestay.com.

But that’s not all… with help from the Rotary Club and municipality, and gifted some land, Fulmaya is now putting her energy into building a clinic for Bhattidanda.

Fulmaya’s story typifies all that the Trust strives to achieve through your support. Her ingenuity has multiplied an initial investment of £3,464 for 10 buffalo into something profound and immensely empowering, both for herself and for the community at large.

More information about projects in Bhattidanda can be found here.


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