With your support, women like Masturo and their families have been able to count on secure and easy access to clean water.
Masturo lives in the village of Jemla. She is 29 years old and was married at just 13 years old. At 15 she gave birth to her first child. Her husband used to work in Jodhpur’s mines, which was the only source of income for the family. After his death they were left with almost no financial means. They could not afford his medical treatment either; as a result the initially small tumor in his body kept on growing, finally leading to his death.
She is now a young widow with 1 daughter and 3 sons. The eldest son is 14 years old and she also has to take care of her elderly parents-in-law. Her mother-in-law is almost blind and bedridden. Masturo had to spend on average 5-6 hours per day on fetching water for the family.
The closest nadi (pond) is 2.5 miles away from her household. She suffered from debilitating pains in her back due to fetching water and her family could not enjoy regular bathing. Her dream was to have a taanka (and water storage facility that collected rainwater during the monsson), but she thought it was impossible.
Masturo was one of the women who GRAVIS selected to receive a taanka, which marked the beginning of a better life for her and her family. Her relatives assisted in constructing the facility, while GRAVIS supplied building materials.
After having received the taanka, Masturo has time for doing other kind of work to earn an income. She now owns now around a dozen animals for breeding. Despite her difficult family situation, thanks to the taanka she now enjoys a better quality of life.
Last year, with your help, GRAVIS reached their goal in establishing 10 seed banks throughout 9 villages in the Thar Desert. Each seed “bank,” managed by a community group, has a variety of local seeds that are preserved through natural, sustainable storage methods.
The seed banks have dual purpose of helping users save money – not needing to purchase expensive genetically modified seeds and the required fertilizers and pesticides – while improving the health of the soil.
Poor and marginal farmers can buy seeds from these seed banks at affordable rates instead of going to the market and buying them at a much higher cost. They also avoid the need to borrow money from moneylenders who charge extremely high interest rates (50% interest or more is common).
Nearly 350 farming families have directly benefited from access to these seeds so far.
Seed saving is one part of GRAVIS’s sustainable agriculture program. Other initiatives include using natural fertilizers and planting fruit trees. Your support for sustainable agriculture projects continues to prove to be cost-effective, increase agriculture yields, improve soil fertility and protect water sources from contamination.
In the first six months of their grant, GRAVIS assisted in the construction of five new water-storing taankas for extremely poor Indian families. Thanks to the taankas, the availability of sweet water has increased by a minimum of 3 months, and will most likely grow with monsoon weather. This has lowered the expenditure on water by Rs 1000- 1500 (US$23 - $35) for each family. Storing water in the taanka saves women 2 to 3 hours a day from fetching water from the nearest source.
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