Covid-19 pandemic has hit all the countries hard, and particularly to low-income countries like Nepal resulted in multiple disasters. This crisis exposed the pre-existing gaps in the system to respond to the needs of the vulnerable sections of the society such as women, low-income families, marginalized communities, and other minority groups. The pandemic has particularly and disproportionately impacted women, who were a major portion of the informal workforce. They have been isolated and are invisible, and the COVID-19 has further added new challenges in livelihood and income. Despite the hardship and uncertainty, some home-based workers have turned the COVID-19 crisis to their advantage by turning their valuable sewing skills into producing personnel protection equipment (PPEs), and facemasks. These women are the beneficiaries of Parya Sampada Project, an initiative of SWITCH-Asia, funded by European Union and implemented by UN-Habitat Nepal.

The project focused on a whole-of-society approach to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the heritage settlement of Kathmandu Valley. The project continued to carry forward relevant activities during COVID-19, to enhance the capacities of the home-based worker to respond to the crisis. The project had provided Advanced Stitching Training to 36 women through SABAH Nepal, an implementing agency of Parya Sampada that provided them an opportunity to utilize their skills to contribute to the community and sustain their livelihood. The women’s groups were actively producing personal protection materials in both COVID-19 waves. They produced 25 sets of PPE, 50 liters liquid soaps, Harpic 30 liters, phenyl 30 liters, 100 masks and handed over to the LMC Ward- 22 representatives of Bungamati in April 2020, to support the safety of the frontliners during COVID-19. In the second wave, the women produced 1,000 facemasks in July 2021, and were handed over to the community of Bungamati. Ambir Shakya, ward chairperson of LMC-22 appreciated the support of Parya Sampada during this time of Pandemic which really protect and boost morale of our front-line worker”.