Meet Parbati Sunar, Driven Construction Entrepreneur
Parbati has taken matters into her own hands, starting an Interlocking brick enterprise and building safe, new homes in her community. She has built 40+ houses in last 2 years and is employing six people (50% women) full time in her enterprise.
Parbati, like many other women in rural Nepal, was married and became a mother at a young age. Coming from a rural background, without proper education, it was challenging for her to please the in-laws and her husband, resulting in a loveless and dysfunctional marriage. Few years ago, the husband left her, migrating abroad for work, and Parbati was left alone financially and emotionally to take care of their son.
“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake & help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for”
When we first met Parbati she was working hard to make a living by growing and selling vegetables. Struggling to make ends meet, she was thinking of migrating to earn better. Due to strong commitment to her son, family and community she decided to stay. Learning about the Interlocking Brick technology she saw the opportunity to establish her own construction enterprise.
“If a rural woman like me can start a construction enterprise and succeed, then any woman can do it”
It has now been a few intense months for her; setting up the machine, getting production started and managing workers. At the start, she had mixed feelings of hesitation and curiosity but when her production training was over, she became confident.
She says the best moment for her was to deliver bricks to her first model house in Charaundi. The model house construction was combined with a mason training and now she is an independent entrepreneur employing 6 local people full-time.
“It’s important to have goals. I see myself as an independent woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it”
Often Nepalese society looks differently to a single mother. Parbati believes that if her husband had not left, and she was not faced with many challenges in life, she would never have been tough enough to become a successful entrepreneur. Today Parbati is working to expand her business and build more houses. She is seen as a role model in the village, inspiring many other rural women to be independent as well.
“Building with Interlocking Bricks was a completely new concept for me, so I was prepared for reactions from my community. One needs to be patient and work hard, but the results are worth it.”