Alina’s life changed twice thanks to Tearfund’s partner and the local church, and today Alina is a successful businesswoman with a thriving shop. Not only has this helped her become more secure financially, it has also brought the whole family together. But it was not always like that...
Alina used to be shunned and stigmatised by her community: they would spread rumours about what her husband Bikash was up to while away working overseas. Meanwhile she had to look after their three children – struggling to make ends meet waiting for her husband to return home.
The family live in Sauraha, Chitwan district, central Nepal. They are the only Christians in the Hindu community. They came to faith when their eldest daughter fell sick and none of the treatments she was prescribed worked. They were desperate, so they visited the local church where they’d heard healings can happen. When they prayed, their daughter recovered. This miracle also brought them to faith.
But daily life was still a struggle. For six years, Bikash worked in a factory in Qatar without being able to come home. He worried about his family and, while he missed them, it was the only way to pay for their children’s education.
‘Being alone is very difficult,’ says Alina. To help with the daily expenses Alina used to be a day labourer – it was tiring physical work, particularly with the responsibility of bringing up the children on her own. She felt hurt and angry with her neighbours who spoke behind her back.
But, again, the church came to the rescue. Tearfund’s partner started up a self-help group in Alina’s church to help struggling women like her establish businesses. This fired up Alina’s imagination and she dreamed of starting a chatpate shop – a very popular Nepalese snack food.
With her new-found confidence and support from the group, Alina took out a loan of NPR 19,000 (£27). The shop has proved popular and she now sells drinks, chapati and pani puri – which she taught herself to cook. She’s also developed business skills, pricing all of the goods to make sure the shop is profitable.
Now that Alina has her business, local people have started treating her differently. They see she is determined and able to look after her children, and all of the family are proud of her too.
Bikash returned home, but will soon have to leave to seek work abroad again. ‘Being together is very good,’ says Alina.
She is thankful to Tearfund's partner and her local church for all their support. Alina has big plans to expand her shop and develop her business skills. Now she has paid back the loan, the shop is all hers.
For Alina, training and encouragement from the church has brought out her God-given potential. It has restored family life – bringing them closer together. Alina now has confidence in her abilities. ‘I’m the boss,’ she says.
Please watch and share this short film featuring Alina and her shop – but be warned it does contains scenes of mouthwatering treats...