Many women who do not pursue higher education, end up working in the fields, planting rice, carrying corn. They mainly take care of the house and the family. If they do not pursue higher education, they do not have much opportunity to earn money, working outside the home.
In 2014, after talking with several young girls, smartketi learned of a pressing desire of these women to be able to earn a little money. They talked about being able to support themselves, being able to provide for their families, and even being able to pay for extra classes to further their education or even start a new skill. Smartketi decided to start smartbracelet, a way to teach these young girls a new skill, with the potential of earning income.
Smartketi selected 24 girls from Manthali and its neighboring villages. These girls then went through a training session, where they learned how to make a smartbracelet. After they proved their skills, they were invited to be a smartketi. They had the opportunity to earn money with their newly learned skill. After purchasing their own supplies, they began to make bracelets. Each smartketi earned money for each smartbracelet they made.
The smartbracelet is a wrap bracelet, made entirely from Nepali materials. Each bracelet is 85 cm in length and wraps around a wrist 4-5 times. It is meant to fit every wrist. There is a traditional Nepali button on one end; on the other end, there are 5 knots that can be used to adjust how tight or loose the bracelet fits. The extra knots can then be cut off. Each bracelet costs $12 ($3 goes toward the smartketi who created it and $9 goes into a smartketi fund that is used to fund other projects)
Each smartketi earned money for making a smartbracelet. The more bracelets they made, the more money they earned. Some girls used the extra money to help with extra tutoring for school. Others used the money to help their families. In order to communicate with the smartketi organization, each smartketi had to obtain a phone and open a bank account. Many smartketis had never spoken up for themselves. In addition to earning income, the smartbracelet projects encouraged smartketis to become more confident and empowered.
While smartketi grew larger, there soon became a need for more smartketis in the organization. Current smartketis selected and trained other smartketis. In just a few short years, quiet, shy girls transformed into leaders who then taught a new batch of girls, eager to advance themselves.