An ex-combatant builds a future


Buddhi Mahatara who hails from the mountain district Humla can be found these days repairing motorcycles in Tikapur, a city in the southern plains district Kailali. The ‘Karnali Motorcycle Servicing Center’ that he is running in partnership with a friend is his means of earning and also a reason of hope for the future.

Buddhi is one of the 4,008 verified minors and late recruits (VMLRs) who were identifies as ineligible to remain in cantonment as members of the Maoist army in the process that unfolded after the ten year long armed conflict in Nepal.

When Buddhi and his wife Paramita, a voluntarily retired Maoist ex-combatant, decided to settle in Tikapur, they did not know even a single person there. Bit due to their friendly behavior, they have earned good respect amongst neighbors and have made many good friends, some of whom have become regular clients at the servicing centre.


Buddhi repairing motorbik

in his workshop

As part of the rehabilitation support provided by UNIRP, Buddhi participated in a seven-and-half-month Motorcycle Maintenance Training at Bheri Technical School in Nepalgunj.

He says, “ Being discharged from the cantonments had made me and many others feel like abandoned children. At such a difficult time, UNIRP provided us with the opportunity to gain some livelihood skills. The skill that I gained has enabled me to survive and make a decent living.” According to him, he is earning one thousand rupees ($11) a day on average.

Buddhi has his share on his hardships. Most of his earning is spent in meeting daily expenses and paying the rent of his shop. He wants to increase his investment and add some more tools and equipment, but source of finance is hard to find. He also wished to get further training as new models of motorbikes are coming into the market. But the hardships do not deter him from pursuing his hope for a better future.

“I am crawling now; I have to struggle for four or five years. But, I am not afraid of struggling. The day is not far when I will be known as a reputed motorcycle mechanic.”

He adds, “the biggest lesson UNIRP has taught me is to be self-dependant and I am doing that.”

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