New businesses bring more income to Badi youthsJhalak Badi from Bijeshwori-3 has been operating a barber shop at Chaurjahari Bazaar for the last three years.
Jhalak Badi from Bijeshwori-3 has been operating a barber shop at Chaurjahari Bazaar for the last three years. Until five years ago, he was making a living by farming and fishing in the Bheri River. As earning a livelihood by following these traditional occupations was difficult, the 31-year-old Jhalak chose to go into the hair cutting business.
Jhalak’s father and forefathers spent their lives in caves and followed a nomadic lifestyle. But his children now study in a boarding school in Kathmandu. “If I had not started this modern business, I might have suffered the same fate that my father and forefathers went through,” Jhalak said. After an intensive six-month training in Kathmandu, he started the salon from which he earns Rs1,000 daily.
Similarly, Rupa Badi, an 18-year-old from Bijeshwori-3, runs a beauty parlour and cosmetic shop. She makes a good living from it, and she has been taking care of the whole family with her income. She had received training in beauty care before starting the parlour which has helped to raise the economic status of her family. Rupa earns around Rs1,000 daily from her shop. She supports her five-member family including her father Kali Bahadur through her new occupation. A happy Rupa says her income has increased her courage and self-esteem. Likewise, Deepak Badi from Chaurjahari has been operating a restaurant for the last three years. Badi youths have been increasingly entering new businesses as they could barely survive on the income from their traditional occupations like pottery and fishing.
“Their involvement in modern businesses has earned them respect,” said Rupak Badi, a youth engaged in the agriculture business. This deprived community has been struggling to gain respect in society which has been lost due to their tradition of engaging in the flesh trade.
For the last five years, Rupak has been doing vegetable farming on the four ropanis of land he has rented in Chaurjahari. He makes Rs400,000 annually from his farm. He believes that after engaging in agriculture, he has earned respect in society which was unthinkable in the past. “This has also helped us to enhance living standard.”
Similarly, Badi youths have started commercial production of madals, a small double-headed drum. They are operating the enterprise at Rugha-2. The living standard of Badi youths has improved after they started selling these traditional drums. They produce five madals daily.
In the past, they used to barter their madals for food grain. “Now, we take cash for the instruments, and this is profitable,” said Gopal Badi, a youth engaged in the business. Madals produced by this group are sold in Dang, Nepalgunj and Kathmandu. Their madals cost Rs1,500 each. “We are earning as much as Rs20,000 a month.”
According to Dalit Sewa Sangh, more than 400 Badi youths have abandoned their traditional occupations for modern businesses. “Badi youths today are operating many modern businesses and setting an example for others,” said Ganesh BK, the president of the association.
He added that his organisation had also been conducting various programmes to lift the living standard.