From Extreme Poverty to Entrepreneur of the Year

Shyam Pariyar lives with his family of five in the Lamjung district of Nepal. For years he struggled to provide for his family.

His family worked in seasonal agricultural jobs in their neighborhood and participated in sharecropping. Although they worked hard, they could barely afford enough food to survive. In addition, Shyam had a debt of US $400. Shyam found himself unable to provide good food and warm winter clothing for his family. As he struggled to provide for his family, sending his children to school became more difficult over time.

However, things changed for Shyam in 2014 when CHOICE Humanitarian launched the Nepal Self-developing District Program. During the program, CHOICE interviewed families throughout the district and discovered there were 2,556 families in Lamjung living in extreme poverty. One of those families was Shyam’s.

CHOICE’s staff provided families with business development training and mentorship. After the training, Shyam assessed his resources and strengths and began to planning for a business raising pigs. CHOICE found Shyam very keen on improving his situation. He and his wife participated in each business development training CHOICE provided as well as a savings program. CHOICE assessed Shyam’s business plan for his pig farm and decided to provide him a loan of US $500.

With the help of the loan, he was able to buy three pigs. He used the pigs for breeding and sold the piglets from one of the sows to pay off his debt. He then sold the piglets from the other sow for meat to have an income for his family. Because of his successful business, after the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015 and brought severe destruction throughout the Lamjung district, Shyam was able to build a nice home for his family.

CHOICE staff has continued to provide mentorship to Shyam and his wife. And their pig farm has continued to succeed, they now have 14 pigs. Shyam’s wife now manages the pigs and Shyam is able to take on additional jobs to continue to bring in more income for his family.

When asked how he felt about his success, Shyam says, "I never imagined that I could improve my situation. The neighbors would not trust me even to lend 10 cents. Now they are ready to lend me even hundreds of thousands [Rupees]. I feel I have a voice. My self-esteem is high."

He went on to tell the CHOICE staff, “It was your encouragement; teaching and mentorship that helped me improve my situation. When you constantly visited and inquired how we were running our businesses, I started thinking positively about us. It's our privilege, to have CHOICE come to us and help. You are investing a lot on me. Then I felt why shouldn't I try?"

As a result of Shyam’s hard work in building a business, CHOICE Humanitarian Nepal recognized Shyam as the “Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2019”, a well-earned title.

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