By Avinashi Paudel
Sindhupalchowk, Nepal - Bishnu Maya BK carries her one-year-old grandson Chiran BK everywhere she goes. “He is a part of my heart,” she says. “His parents are busy in the fields or doing the household chores all day, so this little one is with me almost around the clock.”
Bishnu Maya and her family live in Shikharpur Village of Sindhupalchowk, the district with the highest death toll in the earthquakes of April and May 2015. As a single woman from the Dalit Community (traditionally marginalized and disadvantaged community), Bishnu Maya has been receiving social security allowance from the Government of Nepal of about US$5 per month. Following the earthquake, however, she received an additional top-up cash grant equivalent to US$30 through UNICEF's support. She was among almost half a million vulnerable population of the earthquake affected districts, who had been receiving the government’s social security allowance, which benefitted from this cash assistance.
Bishnu Maya had lost most of her possessions when earthquake damaged her house. But when she received the quarterly allowance instalment along with extra top-up cash, she was quite pleased for it helped her regain a bit of financial independence.
"Now I don’t have to ask for money with my son every now and then,” she said. “I can draw upon from my secret pouch whenever there is a need."
She says it helped her take better care of her grandson too.
“I used some of the money to buy nutritious food for my grandson,” she says. "Aside from that, whenever this little one demands, I have also been able to buy him little toys from the village."
“This has made me a cool granny,” she says with a laugh.