May 25, 2021

How sustainable agriculture saved the day

Azolla algae
Azolla algae
Since Tamil Nadu has been subject to a complete lockdown, VOICE Trust has been unable to continue any of its field activities.  However, one of our earlier activities to support COVID recovery (when, alas, we thought the worst was past!) has turned out to be hugely helpful in the current situation.  In January and February of this year, we provided 300 farmers in 15 villages with containers for vermicomposting and tarpaulin sheets for preparing manure from azolla algae. Because these farmers have already attended our workshops on creating organic fertilizer, they were able to put these supplies to use right away, without further training.

Since then, VOICE Trust has been receiving phone calls from many of the recipients to let us know what a huge benefit being able to make their own fertilizer has been during the lockdown, when farmers who rely on purchasing fertilizers have been unable to do so. The azola algae has been especially successful, since it provides nutritious feed for livestock as well as a rich fertilizer for crops.  Keeping cattle and goats well fed has been a challenge for other farmers, since it is summer in Tamil Nadu, and hard to find green fodder. One of the farmers we helped reported that the cattle he fed with azolla algae gave an extra of 1.5 liters per milking. In other words, a cow that normally produced 5 liters of milk is now giving 6.5 liters. Another reported that his goats had increased in weight and were yielding especially juicy meat, which will bring a better price when he is able to sell them, and will help feed his family now during the lockdown. 
Sustainable farming is not only better for the planet, it increases resiliency during hard times!  
Apr 28, 2021

Being able to hear again will transform her world

Eleven-year-old Leena has been denied the opportunity for a full life because she needs a better hearing aid than her parents can afford.   She cannot actively participate in her classes or interact with her friends.  Her struggle to keep up with her schoolwork and her social isolation have taken a huge emotional toll on her.

The generous donations we have received for this project provided us enough money to buy Leena the hearing aids she needs, and we had been talking with her parents and the hospital about getting them for her when the recent surge of COVID cases in India hit.  So unfortunately, for now, she cannot safely be fitted for them.  Indeed, for now, we have closed down all our field activities.

But we are looking forward to the day -- hopefully in a month or two -- when COVID is again under control.  When Leena's family is able to safely open their door again, our team will be there to open her world.

Until then, please stay safe yourself, and reach out to help others in whatever way you can. 

Apr 26, 2021

Some heartwarming feedback

Before the resurgence of COVID in India, we were able to deliver some bags of corn that the widows we had given goats to needed for fodder, since a long dry spell had made grazing difficult.   We used the corn distribution as an occasion to visit with these women and see how their goats were coming along. 

Two of the goats took had been sick, but the veterinarian was able to cure them. The women shared tips with each other on how to keep the goats healthy during the warmer weather.  They were very happy to receive the corn, which they knew would make a big difference.

Four of the women had purchased another goat for breeding.  Our whole team was thrilled by this unexpected turn of events, which will certainly multiply the women’s earnings.

The corn distribution marks the end of our Cyclone Nivar recovery efforts, though we will be checking back with the women over the next year to evaluate the success of this project.

Thank you, one last time, for being there when these women needed you!

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