Jagadishwar Adhikari, Factory Owner

by Jagadishwar Adhikari

My name is Jagadishwar Adhikari, and I am the owner of a rug factory in Lalitpur in the Kathmandu Valley. I am 53 years old, and there are five of us in my family — me, my wife, and three sons. We live not far from Kathmandu’s city center. I am originally from Muchok village in the North of Gorkha, which lies to the west of Nepal. It takes approximately one day to walk from my village to the center of Gorkha, and Kathmandu is another 85 miles away from there. I moved from my village to Kathmandu over 18 years ago to get a higher education. There is still no higher education facility close to my village. After the completion of my education I started work in Kathmandu, and then I settled here permanently.

My day starts at 8 in the morning. I come straight to the factory on my motorbike and begin organizing the rug workers. Most days I am very busy, working hard to complete orders on time. In particular, I correspond with buyers, coordinate my colleagues, check quality control and ensure prompt delivery. My working day finishes at 5, with a break at 12, when I enjoy traditional Nepalese food such as lentils, rice and curry with my workers.

My business makes me happy when I see a big order completed and everything going smoothly. Also, if I see my staff happy and smiling, then I am happy. When the day is finished, I go home and rest. I don't bother with discos and places like that.

At my factory, we make hand-knotted rugs with traditional, modern, and contemporary designs. Our main export market is the US. There are 150 people working at the factory including 130 weavers. All the staff live on site, and there are approximately 85 children—including 15 infants — living with their families. Our factory is not covered by one of GoodWeave’s daycare centers, but there are educational facilities on site for children over 3 years old.

We have been working with GoodWeave Nepal since 1995, and they have helped us with several projects, including the provision of purified drinking water to all people working and living on site, and a health awareness program where we distributed masks to prevent dust inhalation.

Without GoodWeave, we wouldn't really have considered the importance of child rights; we may still have been employing children as laborers. Now, I look after 70 of my workers’ children who receive a free education, books and uniform—all financed by the company. Children under three years of age (infants) live with their parents. Unfortunately I have not been able to provide a day care center for these infants yet, but we are planning to do this and the building is already under construction. Two of the children have gone into higher education and that is thanks to GoodWeave.

My hopes for the future aren't too grand: I want my family to be happy, I want to hand this business off to my sons, and I would like the business to be recognized as prosperous and good. My main worry is that if the business ever did decline, my family and other families would suffer. The futures of many children depend on this factory.

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