By Claudine Emeott, KF14, Nepal
Yesterday marked BPW Patan’s first microcredit fair, which gathered 50 of BPW’s women borrowers to showcase their products.
"Heartly" Indeed: BPW Lovingly and Proudly Showcases its Borrowers
BPW’s director, Urmila Shrestha, confided that this fair has been a dream of hers for the last two years, but she was nervous about pulling together the resources — both money and manpower — in order to make it a success.
Thanks to the hard work of Urmila and her fellow staff over the last several months, success was the theme of the fair today, from the individual stories of the borrowers to the realization of the fair itself. Urmila’s smile is proof:
Urmila Shrestha, Director of BPW Patan
The event started with a brief welcome by BPW board members and a keynote speech by Dr. Chintamani Yogi, who took a slight spiritual bent with his address. He urged the audience to appreciate the goodness in small things, repeating the phrase “small is beautiful” both in Nepali and English (thank you, Dr. Yogi) and praising BPW borrowers for their successful small businesses.
After the opening ceremonies concluded, the rest of the day unfolded with a steady stream of visitors pouring in to buy organic vegetables, homemade pickle, spices, grains, and many different kinds of handicrafts. Below are some highlights of the products on display:
Handknit Key Chains
Sundried Mustard Greens
One BPW borrower sold out of her organic spinach and radishes (fortunately, I bought my stash early in the day). Another BPW client who is also a Kiva borrower could not take a moment to rest because she was constantly tending to a crowd of customers at her stall, where she sold grains, beans, chilies, and spices.
Crowd of Shoppers at a Very Busy Food Vendor
In addition to shopping, there was food to eat:
Traditional Newari Meal
And conversations to be had:
By both young and old.
Granddaughter and Grandfather
Although no one sent me the memo about wearing a red sari,
Row of Red Saris
I felt welcomed and privileged to participate in this great event. I agree with Dr. Yogi that small can be beautiful, but I must say that the success of these women borrowers is anything but small.
BPW Borrowers Selling Handwoven Silk Kurtas
BPW Borrower Selling Mustard Seeds, Mustard Greens, and Mustard Oil
BPW Borrowers Selling Handwoven Shawls
Claudine Emeott is a Kiva Fellow working with BPW Patan in Patan, Nepal. Want to support women entrepreneurs in Nepal? Check out the BPW Patan Lending Team.