Felting and knitting skills as the key to self-employment
- Employment programme for young women with physical disabilities.
- EPSA - Entire Power in Social Action
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Start Year
- First published
“I want to be able to give employment to as many girls as possible who are in need. They are coming every day looking for work.” Ms. Sangita Pant, Founder, EPSA
EPSA is a nongovernmental organization that produces and sells a variety of felting and knitting products made by young women with disabilities. Participants in their vocational training programme come from all over Nepal and are provided with meals and accommodations, with the length of their training ranging from six to twelve months depending on their basic skill level. Since the programme’s start in 2009, almost 400 young women have benefited from being trained and equipped to work on a self-employment base.
Living conditions in Nepal can be extremely hard for people with disabilities, and especially for women. Due to the country’s traditionally conservative culture and male dominated society, people with disabilities are often neglected by their own families and communities, in addition to lacking opportunities to access education, knowledge, and technology. As a result, women with disabilities suffer discrimination on three levels: for their gender, for being poor, and for being disabled.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The knitting products produced under the EPSA programme are based on the demands of clients, such as foreign organizations and social entrepreneurs. EPSA collects client orders and manages all activities, such as goods collection, shipping, invoicing, and money transfers, whereas the participating women focus on the design and the production of goods. EPSA also provides a scholarship programme for the children of needy disabled women, and it runs a small rehabilitation centre for homeless disabled women.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Since 2009, EPSA has become well known in Tibet, and consequently the organization receives many inquiries and requests from remote parts of the country to admit and train girls with physical disabilities. EPSA receives no public funding. Its activities are self-sustaining, and the main source of income is the sale of handicraft products. The organization has also been successful in creating greater awareness on the issues of women’s empowerment through skill development and employment.