Name: Kumari Magar
Does your spouse/partner live with you? I’m single.
What is your primary job? Domestic Worker
What is your monthly salary? $80 (working in two households)
What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional same sources? $170 (including income from my sister and her husband) from $90
How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? Three - a sister, her husband and their 10-year old daughter from two - a brother and sister
How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? My sister and her daughter now depend more on me. Her income remains low, and her husband, a labourer, is constantly between jobs. Sometimes he is jobless as there is no regular construction work around. My elderly parents also need my support, so each month I try to send them around $15.
How much do you spend each month on food? $35. from $25
What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Rice and vegetables. $35 from $25
How much do you spend on rent? $40. from $20
How much on transport? $35. from $30
How much do you spend on educating your children each month? I don’t have any children.
After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? $15. from nothing
Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? No. Fortunately, I have not been sick during this period.
Have you been forced to borrow money (or food) in the last three months to cover basic household needs? No. Fortunately, things have not been that bad for me in recent months.
Although Magar and her sister both have jobs, her sister earns little as a domestic worker, and her brother-in-law struggles to find work in the building trade following a recent dip in the construction business.
At the same time, Magar is also helping to support another sibling.
“My brother recently got married and moved out with his wife. They now live separately from us. Sometimes, they run out of money, so I try to help them out when I can, as my brother had always been very supportive of me when I needed help.”
Compared to her situation in December 2012, Magar’s life has improved. She has found two new employers, both of whom work in the grocery trade.
“My life is a better because of my new employers, as their business is good. I left the old employers because they paid so little. Now I can actually save a little bit of money.
“Prices have increased again because of a rise in fuel prices. However, we manage by spending more carefully on food. We drink less milk and eat less butter, as well less meat. Concerns over bird flu have also pushed us to eat more vegetables.
“My new employers often give us clothes and leftover food, including vegetables each week. I hope they keep me for a long time.”
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Help us be the transformation we’d like to see in the news industry
The current journalistic model is broken: Audiences are demanding that the hierarchical, elite-led system of news-gathering and presentation be dismantled in favour of a more inclusive and holistic model based on more equitable access to information and more nuanced and diverse narratives.
The business model is also broken, with many media going bankrupt during the pandemic – despite their information being more valuable than ever – because of a dependence on advertisers.
Finally, exploitative and extractive practices have long been commonplace in media and other businesses.
We think there is a better way. We want to build something different.
Our new five-year strategy outlines how we will do so. It is an ambitious vision to become a transformative newsroom – and one that we need your support to achieve.
Become a member of The New Humanitarian by making a regular contribution to our work - and help us deliver on our new strategy.