“Last year my oil factory and paper production businesses were going very well but the outbreak of COVID-19 forced me to halt my business. However, the situation did not scare me off. I started growing and selling vegetables with the support of my daughters and still managed to have good earnings.”
In Nepal, a country-wide lockdown came into effect on March 24, 2020. This was only two months after Chini Maya officially launched her paper factory. She used to sell her high quality paper abroad. During the first days of lockdown, Chini Maya, along with her six family members (her children and husband) and 12 other employees worked hard to keep the Paper Company running. However, due to the lockdown, demand was decreasing. Therefore, she decided to halt the production for a while.
It has been months since her Paper Factory closed, leaving local people without a job. In the meantime, like in previous years, Chini Maya started her seasonal job: oil manufacturing. Local people have been very happy to get a job in their area because they were not allowed to travel to any other surrounding areas due to movement restrictions. Some were involved in collecting raw material from forest, while others were involved in the actual oil manufacturing. However, the international company that usually buys her oil, informed Chini Maya to stop the production due to a lack of demand from users.
Despite these difficulties, Chini Maya again found new strength to go on. She has an inspiring will-power that helped her to not give up. She found another opportunity. Vegetables are an essential supply, as everyone buys food whatever the situation is. During the lockdown, she started to grow vegetables, with the support of her daughters. As soon as the lockdown was lifted, she started selling the vegetables in a very busy area of Kathmandu.
Chini Maya hopes that there will still be demand for the Oil Company and Paper Factory as the situation normalizes. Thanks to the Women’s Empowerment Project she joined a few years ago, she will improve her business skills and learn new ways to create items with paper once the state of emergency is over.