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Madan Magrati

Nepal
Born in a rural area of Kavrepalanchwok district of the Tukucha- Village Development Committee, Madan Magrati came from a very poor and economically disadvantaged community. He got married at the early age of twenty, but he did not have any source of income. He struggled to find a job, but he was never successful because he was not adequately educated. At 32 years old, he had two kids as well and was looking to do something to sustain his 4-member family. He got in contact with UNDP Nepals Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP). He finally had an idea for a business he could do with that programme. He participated in several trainings, such as entrepreneurship, skills development, etc. 

In 2007 he started a leather shoemaking factory with three other members of his community at a small rented flat in Tukucha  after attending an entrepreneurship development training program for 7 days by MEDEP. He had learned his shoemaking skills from his traditional forefathers, but he had up until then not continued the family business because it was a position ascribed to the "untouchable" caste. He was uneducated, unemployed and had no motivation to continue his own family business because it was the least reputed business in the community. But after attending the entrepreneurship development training in 2007, he saw a huge potential within himself and his community. He thought that making low-quality shoes with hand tools was not highly regarded in society, but using machine tools with sizable numbers of workers could change the attitude of society and his income level. He began his work by collecting Rs. 5000 (US$500) each from a local group of 24 members, and along with the contributions of MEDEP and the support of the District Micro Entrepreneurs Group Association (DMEGA), DDC- Kavre and VDC.

After four years, he and his three colleagues were able to build their own building and expand their business with the help of four additional friends. Because of this, other youths from the privileged castes also slowly began showing interest in learning shoemaking skills and starting their own business. He provided skills training to those youths as well as training in stitching to women. In his training curricula, he adds marketing skills to what he teaches in addition to task-specific skills. This has enhanced the employability of his mentees.

He started to organize young people into groups for skills learning and starting their own businesses. He has been conducting skills training programs for unemployed and deprived men and women of his own and neighboring communities. As the youths have learned new skills and started earning, he has seen a change in societys perspectives and ideologies. Further, when the skills training was made compatible with the improved technology, the traditional perception was also changed. Side-by-side, women and men have become educated and aware of their basic rights and needs. Before this, society was not familiar with the concept of staying and working together in a community; these were not known to the concept of marketing in a village. 

He says his business was largely affected by the massive earthquake that hit parts of Nepal on April 2015. Later that year they received financial aid from UNDP and were able to resume their work within no time. Magrati has been actively involved in various cooperations, social organizations, is President of DMEGA and provides leadership to more than 2500 poor women and men entrepreneurs.

He has a motto that when one independently engages themselves in a daily business, they will find a source of income to survive and will leave a positive impression on society and be able to make others understand the importance of being employed and giving back to the society. 
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