Wednesday, 28 November 2018

My journey from full time employee to social entrepreneur!! 😋

After graduating as a nurse from my initial certificate level of nursing education program in 1995 I started my professional career as an employee joining initially at Koshi Zonal Hospital in Biratnagar, where I worked for 10 months. Thereafter, from the suggestions and advices of my Campus Chief, Aaitu Maya Chhetri I joined Women's Rehabilitation Centre where I worked almost 18 months then joined Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital and worked there for another 10 months. During these 38 months period I was seeking an opportunity to pursue further education.
In 1998 November I enrolled in Bachelor of Nursing at Lalitpur Nursing Campus under Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine from where I graduated in Nov 2000 then joined CARE International in Nepal in January 2001 where I worked till January 2004 for 3 years and went to Australia to pursue my Master in Public Health in the financial support of Australian Development Scholarship.
After returned from Australia in 2006 April I decided not to work as an employee, however, social environment didn't favor me. So, I joined Hope International Nepal as a Lecturer to taught Bachelor of Public Health and Bachelor of Nursing Students. I was not satisfied with my job because I got an opportunity directly to observe and hear the problems of the nursing students relating to their clinical placement. Besides, I was aware that I am an employee who had to remain under someone controlled where I don't have freedom in my thoughts, words and actions.
Having worked before at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital and Women's Rehabilitation Centre I wanted to do something different that would make difference in women's lives. Also I wrote my MPH major project dissertation on Maternal Health based on the field work that I did at Mahottari district where I worked before through CARE Nepal.
Being an employee in four different organisations within 6 years period I had diverse professional learning experience therefore I decided to do something different that would contribute to make difference in the lives of nurses, nursing students, childbearing women as well as self empowering to have an autonomy. In this way, while wondering and pondering all of a sudden one day "National Policy on Skilled Birth Attendants 2006" I came across while searching for the reference to teach my students. On the back of my head always my colleague at CARE Nepal, Pushpa Lata Pandey words echoed frequently saying, "Let's be an entrepreneur not an employee like my dad is doing his own business." This is how the idea and concept of establishing the Birthing Centre came up in my mind and was successfully able to establish in 2007 partnering with 15 females working in different organisations investing from our own out of pocket expenses. Because of experiential learning experience having being worked in different organisations we registered our birth centre as a private limited instead of NGO because we wanted to sustain our work being an social entrepreneur since NGO works are not sustainable due to the dependency on donors and always have to look or beg for help rather than trying to work hard to make sustain the initiative that we started.
This is how my journey from employee to entrepreneur and employer started gaining 7 years of work experience in 5 different organisations (Koshi Zonal Hospital, WOREC, Prasuti Griha, CARE Nepal and HOPE International) within 7 years of duration of my professional career.
Although still I personally pay for employee salaries and house rent for our birthing centre I feel good and satisfied in what I have been doing to my society and people here in Nepal. Whatever income I earned generating from freelancing or else I utilize it for our Birth Centre to survive and thrive. I know this is not a progressive and sustainable approach in entrepreneurship to thrive but there is no choice for me doing so at present. I have tried my best to work in partnership with private-public partnership concept approaching Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital together with Lalitpur Metropolitan City, however, that didn't work unfortunately.
In 2008 unwillingly to work I had to find out job to pay the salaries of our employee and rent of the building of our Birth Centre. Thus joined GIZ Support to Peace Process where I worked till 2011 January then I went to Australia to pursue my doctorate.
While I was doing my doctorate in Australia in the financial assistance of Australian Leadership Award from 2011-2015 March from the stipend I used to get from my scholarship I saved it and sent to Nepal to my Chairperson, Rashmi Rajopadhyaya to pay the rent and salary.
If any enterprise is established with social motive it is very difficult and challenging to sustain I realized from my own experiential learning of 11 years from 2007 to till now operating APS Birth and Reproductive Health Centre.
Partnering with professional women as well as others I am learning a lot to support each other to grow, develop, survive and thrive because that give satisfaction to oneself although we don't earn anything materially but we earn many thing metaphysically in a spiritual way.
However, life is all about learning, struggling and correcting self to move forward as per the law of nature therefore, will continue to learn, struggle and have fun enjoying with in my own passion in a perseverance manner to make difference in the lives of Nepalese women and girls.

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