Living with wildlife isn't always easy, but by supporting new local businesses in Nepal we are reducing dependence on natural resources. This is creating a brighter future for both tigers and people in Nepal, because when nature wins, we all do.

Stopping human wildlife conflict in Nepal

Gayatri’s tailoring shop is just three doors down from Rita’s beauty salon, facing onto the road that runs through Chuchekhola. The shop – a square concrete room – is filled with piles of brightly coloured fabrics awaiting her dextrous fingers, while an array of golden, red, orange and green clothes hang from a line running along the back. On one wall are stuck torn-out pages from fashion magazines or catalogues and, pride of place at the front of the shop, sits a well-used, black Singer sewing machine. Gayatri sits at the desk, pushing the pedal underneath with her foot, watching village life unfold before her.

Tiger numbers double in Nepal

A mother of two, Gayatri set up her tailoring business seven years ago when she was breastfeeding her second child, a son. Her husband drives a tractor, earning only a small income, so she made the choice to go to work for her son and older daughter (now 12). The early years were tough, but she’s built up a clientele of women in the local community. Through her business, Gayatri is able to pay for her children’s education; she even gives money to her parents, in-laws and supports needy people who can’t afford clothes.

  • Bengal tigers in Nepal have doubled
    Wild adult tiger numbers in Nepal have increased from 121 to 355 since 2009
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    Reducing human wildlife conflict 

    Gayatri herself had a limited education, dropping out of school at a young age to support her parents, and hopes her children’s education will give them more opportunities than she had.  As a child she often accompanied her parents into the forest to collect firewood and livestock fodder. When she married, even her mother- and father-in-law regularly risked wild animal attack or fines to collect firewood to sell to local hotels.

    Our global conservation work

    Thankfully, that’s now stopped. With ZSL’s support, Gayatri’s shop now has four sewing machines, and she has two or three assistants who regularly join her to learn and work. Her in-laws no longer need to go into the forest, and she’s trained 12 people as tailors in the last two years. There’s still lots to do before she can feel successful, she says, but she’s proud of her independence and what she’s achieved so far.

    Sewing machine for tailoring
    Gayatri Rai smiling whilst sewing
    For life everywhere

    As human activities push our planet to its limits, it’s more vital than ever to bring people with us to drive nature’s recovery. You can be part of it too. Help power solutions to save our living world at ZSL.