PSHI FHI 360 Home

N-MARC Creates New Opportunities for Marginalized Groups to Excel

Twenty-five years ago, when Basanti Nepali was born in a small village in the Bardia district of Nepal, there was little hope that she would ever emerge from her humble surroundings to become a respected, professional woman dedicated to advancing the reproductive health of her country. Born into the socially marginalized Badi caste, Basanti's childhood was characterized by painful experiences. As one of nine brothers and sisters in a family living in extreme poverty, she fled primary schools due to mistreatment and abuse by schoolmates.

As Basanti grew older, maltreatment and abuse continued, again due primarily to her Badi status, with even police officers "molesting us, pinching us, teasing us." The family's misfortune was compounded by the death of both parents. Despite these obstacles, Basanti persevered with her education and graduated from secondary school. At that time, she learned of an organization called the Nepal Contraceptive Retail Sales (CRS) Company, a non-profit health and family planning organization funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase awareness and use of HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, and maternal and child health products. As part of its mission, CRS strongly believes in the social inclusion of marginalized groups, and provides education, training, and employment opportunities for individuals in these groups that were heretofore not available in the country.

Even though she was competing against hundreds of other applicants for a position as Sales Promoter at CRS, Basanti won the job. She now successfully implements CRS' spot awareness and prevention program on HIV/AIDS, and is responsible for identifying "non-traditional outlets" for condom distribution in areas deemed to be high-risk for HIV/AIDS transmission. Basanti has completed her undergraduate university first-year exams and credits the CRS Company for their support in helping her to achieve these successes. "After I came to CRS," she explains, "my life is filled with enthusiasm and high hopes…my belief in myself and my hope to do more has found its rightful place" at CRS.

Posted October 2007

Read more about the Nepal Social Marketing and Franchise Project (N-MARC) project