Raute leader Suryanarayan Shahi receiving his first salary from bank.
SURKHET, March 14: Five members of the Raute community who were appointed as social workers by the Social Service Center (SOSEC) have received their first salary.
Last month, SOSEC had appointed five people from the Raute community including three leaders as social workers. Rautes are the last nomadic indigenous tribe of Nepal and still live in forests of Surkhet. After receiving their first salary, Rautes were on cloud nine.
SOCEC had offered jobs to Raute leaders Suryanarayan Shahi, Dil Bahadur Shahi, Bir Bahadur Shahi, former leader Mahin Bahadur Shahi and youth Prakash Shahi. Currently, Rautes are living in the forest of Lekbesi Municipality of Surkhet. On Wednesday, they reached the district headquarters Birendranagar to receive their first salary. They went to the branch of Mega Bank with their checks.
"We were entrusted with the responsibility of feeding Lito (mixture of nutritious grains) to children and interacting with people of other communities," said leader Suryanarayan Shahi, adding, "I will use my first salary to buy clothes for my wife and food for whole family."
Another leader Bir Bahadur Shahi urged the government to provide employment for all the people of his community. "It will be easier for our community to survive if we all have jobs," said Bir Bahadur. In the past, these people earned their living by selling wooden utensils. However, they were unable to continue their profession after the government and local units started restricting people from cutting trees.
"We have been sustaining our lives only with the help of allowance provided by the government and the money provided by the donors," said Mahin Bahadur, adding, "It would be easier if we all had jobs."
Hira Singh Thapa, Chairperson of SOSEC informed Republica that Rautes have started feeding nutritious diet to their children. "Most children of this community are struggling with malnutrition. Our objective is to abolish malnutrition and make them healthy," said Thapa.SOSEC has announced to provide Rs 1500 as monthly salary to these five people for a year. "We have deployed the leaders of the community for empowering the whole community," said Thapa, adding, "If the program continues to be effective, we will appoint more Rautes."