Dhaka Weaver: Lal Kumari Singhali

Dhaka Weaver: Lal Kumari Singhali

Lal Kumari Singhali hails from Hetauda, Makwanpur. Her life of hardship began when her mother died when she was eleven years old and her father left her. She began working as a labor in a construction work at the age of 12. She came to know about dhaka weaving in Palpa from her relative and so she traveled to Palpa to learn weaving at the age of 14 and joined Saraswati Dhaka as a weaver.

In Palpa, she got married at the age of 18 and became a mother to two children. Her husband currently works as a mason in Tansen and her children are students. She earns about Rs. 7000 a month but as the age caught up with her, her productivity has declined. During her youth she used to weave about 2.5 meters of fabric per day but currently she hardly weaves one and a half meters. With the current income, she struggles to pay for her sole expenses let alone her family, rent and the children’s tuition fees.

Weaving is the only skill she knows, and she no longer has the physical strength she once had to work at the construction sites as labor which has higher pay than weaving in Palpa. She cannot rely solely on weaving to sustain her life, so she also works as a house maid for two families where she cleans and does the dishes during the mornings.

To compound to her misery, the Corona Virus Pandemic has taken her husband’s job and the responsibility of the entire family has fallen upon her shoulders financially. She is struggling more than ever and hardly been able to manage.

The cost of living is increasing day by day in Palpa at a tremendous rate. She fears the day when she is old, and she is no longer able to work. She hopes that the existing wage rates in weaving increases to be able to meet the living expenses with some savings.  It would be a huge relief to her financially.

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