Workstation Improvement

Watermill in Ratamate

Watermill Improvement

Rural communities in Nepal still operate traditional watermills for basic mechanical work. Two traditional watermills were operated by their owners in Mathillo Dhand and Ratamate. Operating on the kinetic energy of rivulets, these watermills are used by the owners for processing grains. Villagers also offer remuneration or a portion of grain for use of the watermill. However, these mills and their water supply channels were damaged beyond use during the earthquake.  

To ensure that access to this service is resumed, the project assisted in the improvement of these watermills. The working space was improved in all watermills by laying a cement foundation. In Ratamate, the canal leading to the watermill was improved. In Mathillo Dhand, electric operation of the mill was also enabled. 

Hear from the people

“I built this watermill around 20 years ago for an alternative source of income. It worked pretty well, but I didn’t use it regularly while I was working as a mason. When the earthquake struck, my house and the mill both collapsed. It went a bit downhill for me from there. I’m not on the best of terms with my son and his family, and my wife lives with them. It was hard rebuilding my house, even with help from the project. I’ve stopped masonry and the little land I have is not really suitable for farming right now. But we’ve made improvements to the watermill, and I may finally have something to depend on. It grinds grain much faster now. Villagers come to me with barley, wheat, maize, and I get a portion of the final product. The watermill will help for at least six months or so every year. For the rest of the year, I’ll figure something out.” 
- Ram Bahadur Mijar, Ratamate 

Blacksmith Work-Shed Improvement

The historical caste-based system of work distribution still dictates the professions of a sizeable segment of the Dhungentar community. Although the system is now outlawed, its lingering repressive effects are apparent, with a considerable number of locals engaged in traditional, low-income occupations. While the project’s other livelihood-building activities offer new opportunities for income generation and economic stability, existing practices and structures also require reforms to improve livelihoods. 

There were two makeshift blacksmith work sheds in Mathillo Dhand and Archale that function as workstations for numerous blacksmiths in the settlement. Since these sheds were damaged during the earthquake, this project built a new, permanent structure and provided new equipment and tools. 

Hear from the people

"The old, rickety shed we used for work was bound to collapse. We later built a makeshift shed, but it will give in too. So we are improving the shed now. It will be sturdier and neater. We’ll add machines and tools too. It will be better. You know, our forefathers used to fan flames using animal skin. We used to use a manual machine. Now we have an electric machine! Things are relatively easier these days, but it’s still a difficult craft. It’s hard labour, among flames and metal, throughout the year. My father taught me metal work, and his father taught him, but our children did not want to continue. They say it’s too hard. My son works in Kathmandu as a goldsmith. It’s ok … He does well there. If he decides to continue the tradition when he comes back, things will definitely be easier than it used to be for us and our fathers."
- Gopi Lal Sunar, Mathillo Dhand

Carpenter Shed Construction 

A new shed was constructed in Archale for carpentry works. New equipment and tools were provided for the carpenters’ group, who produced house frameworks and furniture for the community. The group also built two- or three-tiered chicken coops commissioned by locals. These coops, unlike traditional coops, have more space and allow locals involved in poultry farming to expand their stock.


Gallery

The old blacksmith work shed in Archale
Local blacksmiths working at the old work shed in Mathillo Dhand
After the water canal was blocked following the earthquake, the watermill in Ratamate stopped operating
A bamboo basket for inserting grains in the old watermill in Karamfedi
Working space at the Ratamate watermill being improved 
The water canal leading to the Ratamate watermill being cleared 
The Ratamate watermill functioning after repair works 
Ram Bahadur Mijar, owner of the watermill in Ratamate, performs rituals before resuming work after an extended gap
An improved shed for the Dhand watermill