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The Brave Women of Kathmandu: The Impact of Covid-19

Updated: May 6, 2021

To say that the impact of Covid-19 has been devastating on some people’s ability to earn an income around the world is a bit of an understatement. The pandemic has not affected all countries equally and, while the tourism industry has been hit particularly hard hit worldwide, not all economies and governments are able to offer their citizens the same level of financial support. In fact, some governments offer their citizens no financial support at all and the women of Kathmandu are one group that has been hit particularly hard because of this.

Kathmandu at the epicentre

Such is the case for the people of Nepal, who are now facing the full brunt of Covid-19. Initially slow to take hold, alarmingly, the country is facing its second wave, with over 2,000 new cases reported daily and upwards of 10,000 people currently infected. Kathmandu, with an urban population of around one million, is at the epicentre of Nepal’s latest Covid-19 brutal surge.

The economy has closed

Not surprisingly, the country’s tourism economy has all but shut down. Many industries and hotels have closed. As Covid-19 rates soar, the government is looking at closing schools. The markets, heavily relied upon by the local people to trade their goods and services, are closed. Those living in cities and towns are moving to the country, to grow essential crops like potatoes, rice millet, and wheat to feed their families.

Families face dire problems

With no tourists to buy their wares, as the markets have closed, and no financial support from the government, it’s a dire situation. Life was already challenging in Nepal and particularly so in Kathmandu. Most women do not have the same opportunities as men and typically, they stay at home to look after the children, while the husband goes out to work. But with the pandemic, this work has dried up leaving many families stretched and unable to afford food and clothing.

Trading initiative set up

It’s here that the Conscious-Trader story begins. With no income assistance available and no market to sell their beautiful handmade wares, an online trading initiative was set up in early 2020 between Conscious-Trader and Pran of Kathmandu, to provide a lifeline to many Nepali families. With husbands unable to earn an income, or in some cases, no longer able to provide for their families, crafting at home means the married women are able to earn an income at the same time as looking after their children.

Clothing, nutrition, and an ability to earn an income

The Conscious-Trader platform provides an opportunity for women to sell their warm, woolen headbands and an ability to earn an income. In turn, this means the families have better access to a variety of nutrition.

Pran is the conduit to the women and their families. The handcrafted wares made by the women of Kathmandu and sold with the help of Conscious-Traders, also means the families may be able to afford to send their children to school and to buy clothing to help keep themselves warm in the harsh winters.

At Conscious Trader, we are delighted with how the income earned by the brave women of Kathmandu, selling their crafted handmade woolen headbands online, has empowered them. And how this will make a huge, positive difference to the quality of their lives. We look forward to sharing more of their stories with you soon.

Summary: The Women of Kathmandu

The Covid pandemic affected communities and people all over the globe and while Nepal has struggled to deal with the virus, the women of Kathmandu have been hit particularly hard. There has been a lack of proper government support and virtually all of tourism has been wiped out. Fortunately, the good work of Conscious Trader has enabled these brave women to continue selling their wares and support their community.

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