10 August 2012 - Today rural women in India celebrate "Janmashtami" - a festival dedicated to cows in India. It is an animal widely domesticated in rural areas and is believed to bring health and prosperity to the people in general.
So, it is a good day to share something with you about KANTA DAHAKE and her cow.
Living in a village of about 100 house holds, middle aged Kanta has studied up to 4th standard, owns land a bit above 1 hectare.
How is she different ?
Kanta is not only a widow since some years but has been deserted even by her grown up son and his wife. Nobody has seen them since many years. Mostly, the couple did not want to shoulder her responsibility, reflecting the changing family values of the society.
What makes her different, again ?
So, her life dragged on, from one day to another....
Kanta is a member of the local Self-Help Group (SHG) and was till now taking small loans for agricultural purposes. After her husband’s death, she made a resolution and used the loan amount to buy a cow. That improved her situation a bit. She again demanded a loan to buy another cow.
With the support given by you all, Chetana-Vikas, and the other women of the SHG of her village decided to sanction her loan appeal since she had worked hard to return the earlier amount on time. Moreover, they noted that Kanta suffers from arthritis, and so she needed a business, which she could operate from home.
She does not go to the fields because of her pain and so her field is mostly tended by the youngest son living with her. Kanta is required to put in very hard, round the clock work to make things happen.
The two cows today are yielding milk which on an average fetches her family Rs.4,800 per month (about USD 87). The milk is consumed locally, sometimes is processed and sold on festival days which adds to her income.
The cows have given birth to male calves.
The bulk of farm-yard manure, now available from these animals, has increased from 2 tractor-loads to ten and is valued at about at Rs.20,000/- which Kanta and her son prefer to apply to their fields.
Abundant farmyard manure has played a role in doubling the production from their field that is totally dependent on rains of four months.
The two bullock pairs have attracted nearby farmers and has a market offer of Rs.40,000/ for a pair. But Kanta refused to sell the calves saying that “money comes and goes but the calves are my true wealth which will increase further”.
Kanta makes it a point to mention that “since you people are with me, I feel the presence of some heavenly powers with me which helped me sail through difficulties”.
KANTA FOR FUTURE
She plans the impending marriage of her son. This would also leave her some time to expand her business.
She says further, “I will try to bring in more women like me into our fold, so that they can also make their lives better”.
As Kanta has mentioned, we at Chetana-Vikas also feel that there are many more Kantas that we have to reach.
Your support ensures bringing back color to an otherwise life full of drudgery and subsistence.
Ensure your friends and relatives visit the page link –http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/
You can also put up a widget on your Facebook page, Twitter to spread the information.
Bye for now. We are off to a village were the women are celebrating the festival with lots of cows.
Niranjana MaruProject Leader
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http://www.chetanavikas.org (presently under reconstruction, but accessible)