Manpati, election candidate and tailor
Manpati is married and has two children (a son and a daughter), and she is part of Laligrass self-help group (SHG) in the Far West of Nepal.
Manpati had a very difficult childhood.
Manpati was a bonded labourer for 4 years. At the age of 12, her uncles sold her into bondage after her father went blind and could no longer earn an income. Manpati’s husband was also a bonded labourer for 10 years. She had two landlords when she was a labourer, but one of them treated her badly. Thankfully, Manpati received a small amount of education because she was the same age as her other landlord’s daughter. When she was freed, Manpati was given one katha of land, training in tailoring, and some other adult education.
Manpati now makes clothes and has ambitious plans for her future.
Manpati makes clothes, including the dress she was wearing when we met her. She is part of a mothers’ group and has learnt a lot about women’s rights, gender violence, and child abuse. Manpati also helps out with the group business of raising pigs. She would like to get a loan at some point in the future to allow her to farm rice and wheat on a larger scale, using the loan to help pay the rent on the land. Using her new-found confidence, knowledge, and drive for community improvement, she stood as a candidate in the most recent local elections, but was unsuccessful.
Manpati’s story is one of change, growth, and achievement.
Despite her tragic upbringing, Manpati took her training and other opportunities she had in life and made the most of them for herself and her family. Her children have both had the chance to experience formal education, and her daughter now has a degree, a huge jump from her experiences as a child. Manpati has become involved in local community affairs, joining TLM’s Self Help Group and other women’s groups. From bonded labourer to election candidate, Manpati’s journey has been a long and difficult one. However, she is determined to give her children and her community a better chance than she had, and the SHG has helped her build the skills and confidence necessary to do this.