A vital part of the eighth Sustainable Development Goal is to promote the growth of small and medium sized enterprises and to achieve full and productive employment for everyone, including women and the disabled.
Creating well-paying and sustainable jobs is a particularly relevant concern to Nepal, where the majority of the working population is employed in small-scale agriculture.
Women and especially disabled women face multiple barriers in gaining access to employment. Being victims of double discrimination, disabled women are cast down, stigmatised and often excluded from the rest of the community. They have very little access to education (a majority receives no education at all) and they have very little opportunity when it comes to finding employment. Accordingly, many becomes unemployed.
Thankfully, tourism has the potential to transform Nepal's economy and help lift many people out of poverty. Globally, the growth of the tourist industry is expected to outpace the global growth rate, while by 2030, 57% of global tourist arrivals will be to developing countries like Nepal. Accordingly, there exists real opportunities for the expansion of burgeoning small and medium sized enterprises, particularly in the hospitality sector, as Nepal caters for up to 1.5m tourists by 2020.
Here at Hands on Development, we run 10-day cultural immersion tours and treks to Nepal. We employ those who need it the most and help create sustainable and inclusive jobs by partnering with Seven Women, which supports disabled and disadvantaged women from and around Kathmandu.
On our tours, participants attend Nepali language and cooking lessons run by the women, whilst also having the opportunity to purchase handcrafts made at the Seven Women Centre. In turn, the profits from these activities provide the women income whilst also supporting their ongoing education and vocational training.
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