It's not unusual to see funds raised during festivals or cultural programs with the objective of investing in social services. It's also fairly common when a child is born for people to give presents to the family. But in a village in Parbat district, it is virtually a legal requirement for families with newborns to donate money for social causes.
In Shivalaya-5, it is mandatory for well-off couples who have had their first child to donate money to the local mothers' group. The funds are subsequently used for the common good, for instance by supporting pregnant women and children from poorer households.
"A newborn child becomes a member of society," says the chairperson of the mothers' group Buddhi Kumari Shrestha. "The funds are being raised so as to enable them to help the society they live in."
The mothers' group also raises funds from weddings and lahures returning from abroad. The group contributed Rs 170,000 towards the Rs 1.2 million cost of a five-room community building. The building is not only used for the meetings of the mothers' group, but will also host cultural and religious events and programs for the upliftment of women.