“Don’t stop dreaming, it will take you anywhere you want.”

Suraj Thapa, 16, from Gwaltar, Sindhuli, is studying in grade 10 at the local Shree Kaushika Secondary School. He’s also a budding entrepreneur with a keen eye for opportunity.

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Suraj has always been active. He studies hard in school and likes playing sports. During his studies he became the first Secretary of the Green Club: a club for the most active students. In this club, he helped organise and facilitate a variety of events such as quizzes, competitions and debates. His confidence and skills grew with each new event.

However, it was in business sessions in school where Suraj started dreaming of running his own business. The lessons In school aren’t always pratical, however a group of volunteers working in the area helped students develop business skills. As a result, Suraj was encouraged to pursue his business venture.

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The centre of Gwaltar

He noticed that in Gwaltar, despite a population of hundreds, there wasn’t anywhere people could get their hair cut! Sharp cuts and beard trims relied on visits to a friend’s place, finding a pair of scissors or a trip to another area with a barber’s. Suraj had developed some of his own hair cutting skills in the village and decided there was a huge need for a barber’s in Gwaltar. His business was born.

Suraj realised his dream and set up a barber shop in Gwaltar in May 2017. Business is already booming, and the community love his cosy shop and reasonable prices. It may be new, but on some days you will even find a friend helping him out with enough business for two. Moreover, he manages all of the business around his studies, opening for two hours before and after school.

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Suraj at work in his shop

Running the business has also allowed him to start saving for his future. He wants to invest in himself, to attend training and develop his skills so that he will be a great hair designer in the future. Though his business may be small now, he wants to get to the point where he can financially support his family and give his sister the opportunity for a quality education.

So, if you’re ever visiting or passing through Gwaltar, you could well spot Suraj styling a few customers’ hair. Or, why not come for a cut yourself? At only 50 rupees, it’s a bargain with a smile.