Nani Maya Maharjan, member of Nitya Ganesh Nasa Khala, Pilachhen of Lalitpur Municipality ward 7, had never thought that traditional Newari food like chilly pickle and Yomari could make her into an entrepreneur.
After taking entrepreneurship and skill training, the demand of traditional Newari foods produced by the group of fifty-five year old Maharajan is growing. At a time when COVID-19 Pandemic had increased the intensity of difficulty, she saw hope on traditional food for sustainable livelihood.
“We are still in early stage of production and learning from the experiences of Bungamati. Given the current demand, what I can say for sure is that traditional Newari food including Yomari can help us to support our livelihood,” said Maharjan. “Making traditional Newari food like Yomari makes women in our locality busy and generates income.”
SABAH Nepal, an implementing partner of Parya Sampada project organizes Entrepreneur Development Training (EDT) focused on the locals of Pilacchen providing skill training and entrepreneurship. Around 39 females like Maharjan took 5 days long training.
“EDT mainly focused on managing the micro business, start up and maintaining the appropriate record of investment in ratio with profit and loss. SABAH Nepal, in support of Maya Foundation had carried out the training,” said Deepak Basnet, Training Coordinator of SABAH-Nepal.
Maharjan stressed that this kind of training uplifts the confidence of participants on how to establish a business. She added that the members from the community are interested in establishing the business outlet and looking for technical assistance from Parya Sampada.
As women entrepreneurs are cooking the food, Nitya Ganesh Nasa Khala has a marketing group as well. Led by Sanukazi Maharjan, the marketing group through its social media like page and other sources tabled the order of the meals to the women group.’
With the support of Nitya Ganesh Nasa Khala, women are the beneficiaries of Parya Sampada Project, an initiative of SWITCH-Asia, funded by European Union and implemented by UN-Habitat Nepal.
The project focused on a whole-of-society approach to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the heritage settlement of Kathmandu Valley. The project continued to carry forward relevant activities during COVID-19, to enhance the capacities of the home-based worker to respond to the crisis.
The project had provided Advanced Stitching Training to 36 women through SABAH Nepal, an implementing agency of Parya Sampada that provided them an opportunity to utilize their skills to contribute to the community and sustain their livelihood.
Parya Sampada projects, in support with European Union and Switch Asia, is promoting green economy based local business among people from heritage sites of Bungamati, Chandragiri, Kirtipur, Bungamati, Pilachhen and Godavari from 2018.
Maharjan, a resident of Sacho tole of Bungamati, was dependent on her husband’s income for daily household expenses. She loved cooking but never thought that her hobby could bring her beyond enjoyment to support her family income. When she heard about the “Innovative Food Training” to improve the livelihood of people in Pilachhen under the “Parya Sampada Project” she did not waste a second to get enrolled in the Yomari Molding Training. Yomari, a delicacy of the Newar community for specific events, is a very popular cuisine in Kathmandu valley. It is a steamed dumpling that consists of molded rice flour that is stuffed with molasses (Chaku). The delicacy plays a very important role in Newar society.
This dish is normally cooked on Yomari Punhi (the full moon day of November/December) to celebrate the rice harvesting. Yomari is also prepared for the birthday celebrations, particularly of the children till age 12. Although Yomari making is their tradition, the market demands quality, consistency and competence.
For this she attended five days yomari molding training that was followed by additional seven days of on-the-job training at the Village Café Khokana. The project is also connecting Pilachhen with the Village Cage – Pulchowk, an outlet of SABAH-Nepal.
She prepared around 150 yomaris on a single day and earned Rs.1500. Encouraged with the income, she was determined to continue her skills that makes the customer satisfied and helps to conserve the intangible heritage of Newars.
SABAH Nepal, an implementing partner of Parya Sampada project has coordinated the fest including the Newari food, culture, crafted works, high quality dress, Newar Music and other corresponding outlets.
As the theme of Parya Sampada in promoting cultural heritage to foster tourism all implementing partners are focused on the same. He added that this project helps to develop a market chain through upgrading the local resources with indigenous skills aiming to promote tourism.