Rita Bogati, Sindhuli
Rita Bogati is well-known figure in Sindhuli, Province 3 Nepal. She is40years old, active member of National Micro Entrepreneurs' Federation Nepal (NMEFEN) leads provincial Micro-Entrepreneurs' Group Association (DMEGA) in Sindhuli. She has garment fabric shop in Lampantar, Sindhuli and a local boutique with 50 employees, most of them women. District Development Committee (DDC) of Sindhuli has awarded her as successful women entrepreneur.. But people also know her as a woman who has fought for her rights, undertaken challenges, overcome difficulties and made her own identity in the area of micro-enterprise. Rita was born in a poor family in Silpakhana village, Sindhuli . Being a girl child among six siblings in poor family, she didn't get an opportunity to go to school. She was 18 years old when she got married. Unfortunately, the married life didn't turn out happy. Rita's husband started drinking heavily and abused her with foul words and physically. She was confused and disheartened but didn't have courage to return back to her maternal home with the fear of putting her family in disgrace. One day, only after two months of the wedding, her husband left Rita and started new life with another women. She felt cheated and betrayed and confronted with her in-laws for the misdeeds, but instead they abused her and threw her out of home. With nowhere to go, Rita decided to return back to her maternal home,only to realise that she was merely another burden for a poor family who was already having difficulty living hand to mouth. Being divorced, single woman Rita also encountered discriminative behavior from her family. She was stigmatized and discriminated by the community all the time. Eventually Rita felt that she had lost all hope and tried to commit suicide, fortunately unsuccessfully. One day Rita was introduced by her friend to one of the Enterprise Development Facilitators (EDF) working for MEDEP. The facilitator told about the programme and encouraged Rita to enroll to the programme as one of the new potential micro-entrepreneurs. Eventually Rita was selected as one of the new micro-entrepreneurs for the programme. She receivedthree3 months skills development training in stitching and sewing garments. She also received trainings on loan handling, starting business and creating market linkages. After the training Rita bought a secondhand sewing machine with some money she had saved. She started small business from her home by taking orders to stitch and sew garments for people in the village with minimum pay. Very much dedicated to her work, Rita started to earn with her skill freshly acquired skills. (MEDEP also provides scale up support through technology, advanced training, marketing and facilitating linkages with financial institutions to selected micro-entrepreneurs). Later on, Rita Bogati was further selected for advanced training in stitching and sewing. She also received counseling from Enterprise Development Facilitators on expanding her business and on modes of loan. As a result, she applied for loan and brought a new sewing machine and an interlock machine. She decided to move from village to main market in Lampantar, Sindhuli to start a small boutique. By this time Rita had become very popular for her sewing skills and was getting many orders and good payment. When She couldn't handle all the orders by herself anymore she started to hire employees. Now Rita has expended her local boutique to chain of 10 boutiques and 20 garment fabric shops with 50 staff working for her. (When she started her business 6 years back she earned almost NPR 8,000 per month and now she makes NPR 80,000 per month. She started her business taking NPR15, 000 loan from one of the local bank in Sindhuli now she has loan of NPR 450,000 and makes good profit.) She still wants to further scale-up her business and create more employment opportunities, especially to women and poor. (At present, She is an active member of Micro-Entrepreneur Groups (MEG) and Micro-Entrepreneur Group Association (MEGA) and chairs DMEGA in Sindhuli. She is also a member in NMEFEN). Rita is often invited to of trainings, meetings, seminar and forums to share her experience and to advice youth and women. By sharing her story, Rita wants to encourage others to believe in themselves. She also encourages women to fight against domestic and sexual violence and discrimination. She has become an example to many women in Sinduli and MEDEP is proud of her. Today Rita lives with her ex-husband's family and is a respected member of the local community.