Maya* [44] lives in a farming village in the remote, mountainous district of Jumla. Married at a very young age, it was some time before she and her husband realised that she could not conceive a child.

Because of this, Maya experienced great shame and disrespect in her community. Eventually Maya’s husband married another woman in order to have children.

However, Maya was forced to remain in her husband’s family’s home. Women are generally not allowed to live by themselves, and she had nowhere else to go. Maya endured regular physical abuse from her husband. She was not provided with adequate food or clothes, and was treated as an outsider by the family. Life became so unbearable for Maya that at one point she even contemplated suicide.

INF began working in Maya’s village in 2018 through the Women’s Empowerment & Livelihood project, as well as the POWER program. Maya was initially sceptical, having seen many organisations come and go in her village. Despite this, she joined a Self-Help Group and began attending monthly meetings, along with twenty other people from her community.

Through the group she has discovered how powerful and important it is to meet together to support each other and effect change. Recognising her dire situation, members of Maya’s group recommended that she receive income-generating support. INF provided her with four goats so she could begin goatrearing to increase her income. She was really happy to receive this support and plans to raise and sell goats to support her livelihood. “After participating in group meetings women are becoming more socialised and have been helping each other,” says Maya. “I want to thank INF for making change in my life and my community.”

Maya’s story features in INF Australia’s latest Annual Report 2018-19. The report highlights INF’s work across Nepal to empower communities, provide health care and prepare for disasters. You can read it here.

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

INF Australia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program [ANCP].