KATHMANDU: After battling several odds, domestic violence survivor Sabita Maharjan is now successfully running Kirtipur Hosiery Industry (KHI) located in Panga of Kirtipur. The business, begun with an initial investment of Rs 50,000 acquired in loans, currently enjoys
an annual turnover of Rs two million. The business reached this state after 15 years of Maharjan’s dedication, passion and perseverance. “Had I not been inflicted by domestic violence, I wouldn’t have been so determined and it may have taken me couple of more years to establish KHI as a full fledged business,” admits Maharjan.
Maharjan’s first venture was called Sabi Craft, through which she acted as an agent of Kalanki Knitwear. This business
expanded and was formally established under the Department of Cottage and Small Industries in 2011. Till date, KHI has trained more than 1,000 women and currently employs 125 women, providing them with a regular source of income. Through KHI, Maharjan has been
able to mobilise women in Kirtipur and neighbouring places and boost their lifestyle through the art of knitting. “I always wanted to initiate a change in the society and lend support to women. I am trying to put across the point that we are no less than males and can contribute equally to the country’s GDP,” she adds.
KHI has been manufacturing woollen products for women, men and children, whereas varieties of cotton products and accessories will hit the market within a few weeks. Along with clothes, KHI also produces a variety of dolls, bags, key rings and other decorative items. KHI imports its raw materials from Netherlands and ensures their products meet international standards. “To further maintain product quality and offer innovative options, we are working closely with Thai Designer Daeng,” says Maharjan, who is a recipient of the Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award 2011.
Along with Daeng, KHI is receiving support fro Business Service Centre for Women Empowerment (BSC), which equipped them with technical and design training. Apart from trainings, BSC has also created their company website www.kirtipurknitting.com to enable online shopping and orders.
Speaking about the award she received, Maharjan says, “The recognition was a morale booster for me and my team, as it made us
visible in the competitive market and encouraged us to set our goals higher.” Change Fusion has also assisted them with finance and helped
market their products. KHI products are mostly exported to international markets like Canada, Sweden, Thailand and Australia. Besides,
their samples and designs have already been sent to Italy, USA, UK and other European countries. Thamel.com, sastodeal.com, Kalanki Knitting and Sherpa Adventure are helping KHI promote its products abroad. “Though Nepali customers usually consider Nepali handmade products expensive, recently even they have begun opting for the same. Noticing this demand, we are going to introduce our products to them before Dashain,” says Maharjan.
KHI has its outlets in Thamel and Buddhanagar, and has recently added one in Baber Mahal Revisited. “It is tough to manage a business, especially as we are not equipped with all the management skills, but we believe that offering quality products will gradually ease our
problems,” opines Maharjan.