“The moment you start thinking positively, your life begins to change right away,” says Ms. Suju Pyakurel, an entrepreneur from Morang, Nepal, while describing the importance of positive thinking in life to be successful on her entrepreneurial journey. Having worked in different sectors before getting into entrepreneurship, such as the Informal Sector Service Sector (INSEC), Interior Designing, and Finance, she has gathered a wide range of experiences from different working cultures. Pyakurel had to quit her job and leave behind her professional career for personal reasons which she now takes as a blessing in disguise. “Without this decision, it would not have led me on my path to entrepreneurship and allow me to become who I am today,” says Pyakurel. She currently runs a restaurant named “Sasthm Bakery Café” with her partner, located at Tinpaini Chowk, Biratnagar which is now a major destination for Nepali cuisine.

Pyakurel started her entrepreneurial journey only after she got married, and it was her family that motivated and supported her towards becoming an entrepreneur. In the process, she came to learn about Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (WEAN Morang) through which she gradually became a part of the organized women entrepreneurship sector in Nepal. But this process of transition for Pyakurel was not as easy as it seems. There exists a story of struggle within oneself which she has overcome and emerged a winner.

“I have suffered from depression for many years. During these years I have undergone anxiety, suicidal thoughts and all those negative thoughts. I lacked self – confidence and was unable to pursue anything on my own. Entrepreneurship was an unachievable dream during that period”, says Pyakurel, describing her struggle. It was the continuous support from her family that motivated her to be an entrepreneur. Apart from her restaurant, she also runs a handicraft business. Her business was gaining momentum when the Corona Virus outbreak took place in Nepal. With the lockdown imposed all over the country, her business took a sharp fall. An effect that she had no control over. The pandemic and its impact on her business was mentally and economically taxing.

Being the Vice President of WEAN, Morang Chapter and being an entrepreneur, Pyakurel had been looking for any possible support that she could avail for women entrepreneurs from WEAN to fight the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. When Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) launched its project, ‘’Safety and Opportunity for Women in Asia” funded by The Asia Foundation and The Visa Foundation aimed towards empowering women entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic ,and approached its WEAN Chapters for a number of online trainings, Pyakurel was more than happy to be a part of it along with various other members from her chapter.

Pyakurel who had a history of depression and also suffered from insomnia was particularly motivated by Holistic Well Being training organized as part of the project. “I was extremely interested to be a part of the session, especially during this pandemic where returning to normalcy soon seemed a distant dream for me,” says Pyakurel on her thoughts about joining the session.

Pyakurel attended the four-day training session delivered by the Art of Living Nepal team. The session which focused on positivity, living life to the fullest, responsibility, Pranayam, and Vastrika had a deep impact on Pyakurel. The session produced significant and impressive outcome for her. The disoriented thoughts she used to have regarding her business and her future, and the problem of insomnia reduced to a great extent after completing the training, and her confidence level also increased gradually. “I used to have sleepless nights as I was highly insomniac. I have had confidence issues, difficulties in focusing on activities prior to the training. No matter how hard I tried to get the issue resolved, the efforts were all in vain”.

Pyakurel was quite excited about the activity and very happy with the result. After participating in this training, she realized that happiness relies on letting go. When one starts to let go, they become happy and that is how the cycle of positivity works. When asked about the impact of training, she stated that she was getting better. Her insomnia has not gone away totally, but it was getting better for her. She shares, “I think I am able to control myself, but not completely, eventually I will get there. This session has helped not just me and my wellbeing but also positively affected my business to a great extent. I can now concentrate on improving my business with a calm and positive mind. Had it not been for the training, I would never have conquered my fears and issues and would have never through about progressing further.”

Today, post the training facilitated by FWEAN, she has gained confidence to expand her business and made her restaurant well known in Biratnagar. She is currently working on market feasibility study for expansion and operation of her business with her partner. She is very happy with FWEAN, and that it facilitated thoughtfully designed project activities to empower its members and strengthen women entrepreneurship in Nepal.

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