Karna Pun lives in Myagdi district in western Nepal. He grew up in poverty and developed a disability as a child. His right leg developed shorter than his left leg.

“My community and the kids my age were very negative towards me,” says Karna, recalling his childhood. “I wasn’t able to go to school because of my disability and because we were very poor.”

Many people in Karna’s community thought that people with a disability had nothing to contribute, even Karna began to believe this.

It wasn’t until Karna joined an INF Self-Help Group that he slowly gained the confidence, support and resources to see changes in his life.

INF’s Self-Help Groups empower people, particularly the vulnerable and people with disabilities, enabling them to work together to address poverty and injustice in their communities.

Karna joined a group four years ago when INF began working in his community. The group meets monthly to share their problems and support one another. They have developed a collective savings fund, and run education and training sessions about disability and disability rights.

The group has currently saved more than 70 000 rupees [approx. $860] in its savings fund which enables members to take loans to set up small businesses. INF also delivers livelihood training opportunities and leadership development training, to build the group’s capacity.

“I was encouraged and forced myself to do something,” says Karna, who used a loan from the savings fund to set up a goat keeping business, as well as vegetable production in a greenhouse.

Karna now has 15 goats, and earns 6000 rupees [approx. $70] for each season of vegetables he produces. He has already successfully repaid the loan he initially borrowed.

The extra income Karna is earning helps him to pay for his children’s education, and develop further savings both in the group fund, and in a bank.

“I am very grateful to INF,” says Karna. “My self-help group changed me and my life.”

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