When we think of Nepal, we think of mountains, different landscapes, temples and festivals. We seldom think about Nepal as a home to generations of people carrying a plethora of indigenous knowledge and expertise. Perhaps one of the few good things that has come about from the COVID-19 crisis is that we are now understanding the value of knowledge that has been passed down through generations. We finally see an opportunity to leverage this local knowledge to create a sustainable source of income for local communities.
This is exactly what Community Homestay Network (CHN) is doing. CHN is a social enterprise that works to empower communities across Nepal through tourism. Unfortunately, the abrupt halt in tourism due to the COVID-19 crisis has meant that a lot of tourism-dependent communities are financially worse off. To help communities in these difficult times, CHN with support from Booking.com’s Booking Booster program is working with 10 tourism dependent communities to develop 12 local products that range from traditional wooden carvings to clarified butter (ghee). One such community is the community of Barauli in Nawalpur District of Nepal.
Barauli is a picturesque village home to the indigenous Tharu community. The Barauli Community Homestay has helped usher prosperity in the village through tourist activities. Besides tourism, the community is involved in farming not only vegetables and grains but also ducks and fish on a small and sustainable scale. CHN has partnered with the Barauli Community Homestay to develop duck and fish as end-products and established a market linkage so that community members can benefit financially.
Seeing that a potential market for these local products could be domestic restaurants and hotels, CHN launched a “Collaboration for Communities” project. Traditional Comfort and Bricks Cafe have been part of this collaboration and are actively supporting this project by including the local duck from Barauli to prepare food items. The “Barauli ko Haas” (duck dish) served at Traditional Comfort’s rooftop restaurant and at Bricks Cafe has already become a favorite of visitors who frequent the restaurants. At a time when many restaurants in Kathmandu are dependent on imported meat and fish products to prepare dishes, Traditional Comfort and Bricks Cafe are paving the way for supporting local suppliers.
So far, this collaboration between CHN and the two restaurants has helped the community of Barauli get an income of Rs. 2,81,000. This is at a time when their revenue from tourism was zero. This project has helped Barauli successfully diversify their income sources.
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