During this reporting period, 117 original families received 117 cows, 211 original families received 633 goats and 500 original families received 9,400 kg (about 20,723 pounds) of potato seeds. Two milk cooperatives (linked with Mithila Milk Union Ltd/Sudha Dairy) were established and also involved the 117 families who received cows. Currently, between 140to 150 liters/milk/day (about 37 to 40 gallons) is being collected by the cooperative.
Women participants have been empowered to make decisions at the household and village levels after joining Heifer selfhelp groups and receiving training such as gender equity. They have advanced the economic development of their families and also the nutritional value of their children’s diets. As a result, domestic violence and malnutrition have also decreased in the target communities.
This reporting period of project implementation, 117 families received 117 cows and 211 families received 633 goats. After receiving all mandatory trainings, SHG members are practicing saving and credit. A remarkable achievement during this period was the establishment of milk cooperative: all 117 families who received cows, are now linked with Mithila Milk Union Ltd (Sudha dairy). At present around 140 to 150 litres of milk/day is being collected by the cooperative. Now group members are earning around Rs.100 to Rs.150 per/day through selling milk.
Before joining Heifer groups, women members were living in very pitiable condition. Their economic condition was very bad and they were not respected by male members of their family. But after joining Heifer project, their lives have changed. The women are now able to ensure gender equity within their families. They are now working for economic development of family and also nutritional improvement of their children. As a result, domestic violence and malnutrition have decreased. Women have been empowered to take decision in both household level and village level. Heifers trainings has created awareness and sensitized women towards being decisive. Positive thinking of members have brought encouraging changes in family lives.
People of nearby villages also showing interest in our activities and some villagers came forwards to join hands with us. Heifers trainings have influenced others in the community many families, outside the participating families, also follows the values of 12 cornerstones in their lives.
Training Helps Woman Become Role Model in Indian Community
Kaushallya Devi has become an extraordinary example for women in her community. Although she is considered part of the poor, “untouchable” social caste in India, she manages to provide for two daughters and one son. Before joining Heifer India, her only income was generated from agriculture and working as a day laborer. Her husband had helped support their family, but an accident left him mentally disabled. Her difficult situation became worse when her brother-in-laws denied her family help. Devi felt hopeless and was now solely responsible for her three children and her husband’s treatment. Heifer India’s project holder, Ghoghardiha Prakhand Swarajya Vikas Sangh (GPSVS), approached Devi and encouraged her to join the project Promoting Socio-economic Transformation of Marginalized Communities through Agriculture and Livestock Management in Madhubani. Her poor economic condition led her to join the project. She contributed to the Self-help group’s (SHG) monthly saving fund and received training on SHG management. Devi eagerly participated in every training and group activity in order to build a better life for her family. Heifer’s intervention also allowed her to receive training on Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her dedication and talent made her an excellent candidate for a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW). Over 10 days of training, Devi learned about animal care and treatment at the GPSVS Center. She advanced quickly to Improved Animal Management (IAM) training and received a medicine kit to begin treating livestock. Now, she provides local communities with basic veterinary care and earns enough income to support her family’s needs. Devi generates 125 Indian rupees (about $2) per day and more than 3,500 Indian rupees (about $57) each month. This income may seem meager, but it allows her children to attend school and pays for her husband’s treatment at Dharbhanga Hospital. Devi said although she still has struggles to overcome, she will continue to learn. “I may walk through dark valleys, but I will still work for my economical sustainability and a better future.”
During this reporting period, project participants have formed 30 original participant Self-help groups (SHGs), 30 first generation Pass on the Gift (POG) groups and 30 second generation POG groups. Original participants work together to form new POG groups and continue practicing POG despite members’ differences and background. Families in surrounding villages are willing to join Heifer SHGs because they see members’ positive behavioral changes due to Cornerstones training. Wheat farmers produced a larger harvest using the System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) method over their traditional methods. SWI training helped farmers learn modern wheat cultivation technology. One farmer’s 2.5 acres of land yielded about 1,400 to 1,600 pounds of wheat per acre. This project also collaborates with Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) agriculture. Male members of 26 kisan clubs consist of 500 families and wives of farmers in SHG Groups. Their farm land is mostly sandy loam (soil consisting of sand, silt and clay). Specific agricultural packages are being developed to help farmers produce better harvests. Keshore cultivation has proven to be an income generating crop. Arjun Mahato of Belha village earned about 200,000 Indian Rupees (about $3,200) from one acre of the Keshore crop. Vegetable seeds are also given to all SHG members of original placement families. Vegetable cultivation has increased incomes about 2,500 Indian Rupees (about $40) per month, and nutrition levels of project families. Support for the Demonstration of Vegetable and Paddy is also given to the program participants. By System of Rice Intensification method 55 farmers planned to cultivate in 5 acre land.
This is the story of Renu Devi. She is aged around 40 years and belongs to Kasturba Mahila Mandal, group no. A-2 of Belha village. Due to extreme poverty, her parents were not able to provide education for her and that’s why she bounded to marry a widower man having four children. Her husband Mr. Indradev Mahto’s first wife too died due to his impoverish poverty. Mr. Indradev is a laborer and he migrates for six months to Panipat, Haryana to work on wages. During his stay at Panipat for six months, Renu Devi faced a lot of problems on housekeeping, care on children and ill health issues of her mother in law. She always thought of giving education to her own son and step children. But time passed by on a woe and her only son Mr. Prakash Kumar also migrated to Haryana for wages.
The sudden turn around came into Renu’s life when she joined Kasturba Mahila Mandal a SHG supported by Heifer project. As a group member, she started saving Rs.25 per month in group fund. She received SHG management training. During training she came to understand the importance of group management and small savings. She thought herself that she got the way how to fight the devil of poverty and thus make up her mind to open a grocery shop. During training she reflected her thought before trainer and group members. All participants appreciated her thinking and in a group meeting it is decided to give Renu Devi Rs.1000 loan at the interest of 3%.
After getting loan from group, Renu Devi was very happy but a question was always revolving in her mind on how to start her business. Earlier she was in practice of selling vegetables in a rented shop. A thought came in her mind and she talked with the owner of that shop and acquired it on a rent of Rs.200 per month. She started selling vegetables with the help of Rs.1000 from group’s loan and Rs.1000 from her own savings. Her hard work and constant efforts in this petty shop business her income started to grow up to 100-150 Rs. per day. Her husband came in wonder on her effort and earning when he came back from Haryana state where he went on migration. Finally he decided to not to go again to Haryana and help Renu on her business. He assisted her on growing green vegetables on their small field they have with a view to grow more profit making vegetables. Gradually as demand arise by the villagers, Renu also attached with this shop tea and snacks. This step almost doubled her per day income from Rs.100-150 to Rs.200-250. During festive season her shop’s income recorded Rs.1000-Rs.1200.
In these days, her shop has stock of around Rs.5000. She also paid back loan Rs.1090 to group fund. After seeing her income more shops opened by other villagers but Renu’s shop is running in its flame and progressing day by day. After fulfilling all basic household needs she has also saved Rs.8000 in her own account.
Thus with the help of group and her own intelligence, she brought back happiness for her family. Her husband and son left totally migrating to Haryana for wages. Now she is thinking to fulfill her own fervor desire of reading, writing, and understanding text, in true sense the desire of knowledge and education for herself and her only son Mr. Prakash.
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