Bhumika from Nepal

Bhumika in her home
Bhumika in her home

Bhumika Rai shares a one-room home in Kathmandu, Nepal, with her husband Dipak and their two children, Sandhya and Saugat.

While Nepal is a nation of great cultural wealth and natural beauty, it also ranks among the poorest and least developed in the world. In recent decades it has been handicapped by staggering unemployment, debilitating power shortages, and political and civil unrest.

Within this challenging environment, Bhumika and her family struggled to survive on the very modest salary her husband earned as the pastor of a small local church.

Raised in a culture that sometimes disparages women and often fails to help them realize their full potential, Bhumika also struggled with feelings of inadequacy.

“Women like me, we often have the thought that ‘girls cannot do anything,’” Bhumika says.

Not long ago, Bhumika had the opportunity to attend International Needs’ Lydia Vocational Training Center in Kathmandu, which gives impoverished, at-risk women access to a five-month-long, all-expense-paid residential training and discipleship program.

Also known as “Lydia House,” the center is run by IN Nepal Executive Director Esther Thapa. The program accepts 22 women at a time, of ages ranging from 15 to 25.

“Lydia House is vibrant, organized, and well-run,” says IN partner Sharon Oxley. “When I visited, everything about it was something I wanted to be involved in.”

At Lydia House, Bhumika learned important skills like how to create safe drinking water, prevent disease, and identify domestic violence. She learned to sew, gaining proficiency in everything from school uniforms to wedding veils and traditional kurtas.

 

 

Bhumika also studied the Bible and gained the confidence to share her faith and preach at women’s fellowships.

From her work as a professional seamstress, Bhumika is now able to purchase household necessities like oil, vegetables, and her children’s lunches.

“Women go to Lydia House without confidence and leave believing that they can do something good with their lives,” says Bhumika.

Since Bhumika’s graduation from Lydia house, the family sustained the trauma of Nepal’s catastrophic April 2015 earthquake. They were forced to flee their home and spent a month living under a tarpaulin tent, where they hosted several cramped church services.

While the events in recent months have been difficult, Bhumika has negotiated the challenges with more confidence and fortitude than she had at her disposal before graduating from Lydia House. She feels empowered by the ability to earn a living without relying solely on her husband, and she has developed a greater trust in God.

“Since Dipak and I accepted Christ as our savior in 2005, we have had many ups and downs,” Bhumika says. “But through it all, God has blessed us.”

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