Twenty-seven-year-old Kamala Pariyar of Lamatar owns a tailor's shop with three sewing machines and a cupboard of cloth for her clients to choose from. Until six years ago, Pariyar would spend her time looking for sewing jobs at other tailors' businesses. With help from DEPROSC, a microfinance institution, she has started out on her own.
"I started with a loan of Rs 10, 000," says Pariyar. "Now the earnings from my shop are enough for my household expenditures, my child's school fees, and I have savings as well. I am much happier."
Pariyar is one of the 1.7 million Nepalese who have benefited from the unique concept of microfinance. Known popularly as 'banking for the poor', the core idea behind microfinance is the provision of collateral-free, small loans that aim to reduce poverty among borrowers.
"Microfinance is an instrument against poverty," says Harihar Dev Pant of Nirdhan Uthan Bank. "And I would say that we in Nepal have been able to successfully replicate the model of microfinance to reach its objectives."