Nodepage

Mother's pride

Sujan Devkota lives in Jyalla, a village three hours drive from Gorkha in Nepal. In April 2015 Jyalla was close to the epicentre of a devastating earthquake and most of the village was destroyed.

Sujan is 22 and lives with his parents and two younger sisters. He plans to go to university to study business but wanted the experience of running his own business first. Having worked in a bakery in Kathmandu while he was doing his higher secondary school certificate, Sujan wanted to carry on this work in his own village. He had spotted a gap in the market  when people in the village said they hadn’t even heard of bread!

Four years ago Sujan set up Jyalla's first ever bakery, using power generated by the local micro-hydro system. He made excellent bread rolls and biscuits and people travelled from nearby villages to buy them. But the earthquake destroyed the micro-hydro, leaving the bakery with no electricity supply.

With support from Practical Action the community worked together to repair the micro-hydro system, using a more earthquake resilient design.  So the village now has a reliable electricity supply once more. Enterprises such as Sujan's ensure the financial sustainability of these small scale energy systems as they are able to use and pay for the supply during daylight hours, when most domestic use is for lighting at night.  So enterprise development  was an important part of the planning for Jyalla's newly repaired energy system.

Sujan has been able to rebuild his bakery business and, thanks to an enterprise grant, has equipped it with a mixer and oven. 

"Now we sell five or six items but our main products are bread, buns and biscuits. We also make birthday cakes to order. The business has almost tripled in size. We used to take 5,000 (£34) rupees in a day, now it's 15,000.  The electricity is much better and much more reliable and the roads between the villages have also been improved. 

Instead of just one person working with him he now has five.  He is delighted with the success of his business.

"There have definitely been changes to the way people think here. People now have trust and expectations in the electricity supply. They have seen how it is in Gorkha and Kathmandu and now they can get the same here. It is a good change in people’s lives.  If my customers are happy, then I am happy!

"I didn’t have to go abroad to earn an income. The bakery has helped me to stay here and it has given me the confidence to start other businesses in the future. My parents are very proud of this business, and of me."

 

Micro-hydro power

Micro-hydro power is a renewable, indigenous and non-polluting resource for the small-scale generation of energy using falling water.

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