New York — Sabitri Dakhal and her husband, Nilaram Dakhal, were struggling to make ends meet, as do many residents of the west Nepal region of Surkhet. Finding it harder to eke out a living in their mountainside village, the couple migrated to a more populated valley in the area in 2005. Sabitri worked as a maid; Nilaram worked as a day laborer.
But their incomes still could not meet basic necessities, forcing Nilaram to move to neighboring India for work. With her husband away, Sabitri got to know women who belong to a self-help group based at a community cooperative founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
Sabitri enrolled in six months of training at the cooperative, learned beekeeping "and gained self-confidence," not to mention increased income from the beekeeping and honey-making, said Sr. Teresa Kotturan, who represents the Sisters of Charity Federation at the United Nations.
Kotturan related the couple's story Jan. 30 as part of the U.N.'s recent meetings of the Commission for Social Development, the U.N. body charged with supporting and monitoring global development progress.
This year, the commission, which met Jan. 29-Feb. 7, explored the theme "Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all." The commission meetings and related events provided a forum for nongovernmental bodies like religious groups to present best practices as part of U.N.-led efforts to combat poverty through the implementation of the global body's sustainable development goals, an effort called the 2030 Agenda.
Sr. Elsa Muttathu, who represents the International Presentation Association at the U.N., described the agenda as "a pathway to the eradication of poverty, and to a life of dignity for all."
"It is a moral imperative, challenging us to recognize our common humanity, our shared responsibilities and the centrality of human dignity," she said in a statement issued to coincide with the U.N. commission meetings.
In her statement, Muttathu said the United Nations and its member states should never lose sight that those living in poverty "are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded, and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment."
The persistence of poverty, she said in her statement, "is largely the result of political choices that have consciously been made by those in power."