HHC has provided seed money and training for several income generation projects since 1993. We have employed approaches to income generation that take advantage of both individual entrepreneurial initiative and community responsibility and support. This latter approach, first developed by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, has been widely praised as a low risk way of enabling the poor, particularly women, to improve their families’ lives.
One of our first projects focused on the Kami, the blacksmiths, who are the most economically deprived and socially isolated ethnic group in all of Nepal. In 1993, HHC provided the first lot of iron and aluminum for the production and sale of Khukuri (Ghurka knives). Over time, we came to embrace a larger goal of creating self-reliance and a spirit of freedom amongst the neo-literate women in the Dhading region.
One of HHC’s most important income generation activities has been to promote the international sale of locally manufactured handicrafts under the name Jeevankala. This initiative, now over ten years old, has allowed approximately hundreds of families to earn living wages. JeevanKala is also a member of the Fair Trade Federation. The net proceeds from all sales of JeevanKala goods go toward funding for HHC’s other charitable programs in Nepal. Recent income generation initiatives have also included sustainable cardamom spice and also vegetable and fruit farming.