Around a thousand women aged between 18-30 years have been trained and transformed into entrepreneurs under P2P project of ChildFund India.

 

New Delhi: Women have been efficiently carrying out all kinds of social responsibilities all along and, with the progress of mankind, no male bastion is left untouched by them now. While in urban areas, they are blessed with availability of proper education, economic resources and other opportunities, in rural India, too, they are making rapid improvements despite lacking in basic amenities and favourable social ambience, thanks to projects like National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Skill India Mission.

Take the case of Bhil of Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh. Low fertility of land, soil erosion and scarcity of rainfall often force the tribal community to migrate to other regions in search of livelihood. But they mostly end up working as low paid labourers there. Moreover, despite the womenfolk carrying out all economic activities at par with their male counterparts, ownership still rests with the men.

Until a year ago, Mamta, like any other woman in her community, was struggling to make ends meet. She used to earn barely Rs 2,000 a month through a little bit of tailoring work. This was not enough to support her family. But her life changed after she became an entrepreneur. Now, she earns an additional income of Rs 5,000 per month through her poultry farming business.

Eventually, she wishes to establish her own hatchery unit for poultry breeding and supply. She believes that this can help more women to start their own poultry farming business as an alternate source of income. Now, she has not only emerged as an independent woman, actively participating in all financial decisions of her family, but also has become a role model for her community.

Annapoorna belongs to a village near Tirupati, which is inhabited by at least 250 families. There is only one primary school in the village. There was a time when she could not attend school on a regular basis as her parents were struggling to make two ends meet. Now, she has not only completed her schooling but also teaches in the same school where she received her primary education. She believes education is very essential to lead a dignified life and it has given her an ability to think, develop and improve.

Mamta, Annapoorna and around 1,000 others like them have been trained and transformed into entrepreneurs under ChildFund India’s “P2P, Poverty to Prosperity” project, which is supported by the Citi Foundation’s India Innovation Grant Program (IIGP). These women aged between 18-30 years and from low income communities located in 46 villages across Jhabua, Dhar and Alirajpur districts in Madhya Pradesh were provided with training in leadership, financial planning, marketing and poultry management, forward and backward linkages, among other things.

The programme, being run under the Central government’s NRLM and Skill India projects, facilitates training of these tribal women to scientifically carry poultry farming and developing a self-sustaining model by establishing a producer company to take it to a profitable scale. In Annapoorna’s case, the ChildFund-supported Children’s Club (Bal Vikas Kendra) decided to mobilise support to help her resume her education.

With coaching assistance, she was able to improve her scholastic performance. Later, she joined the same Bal Vikas Kendra and led its enrolment committee in enrolling out-of-school children. Through collective support of ChildFund, Annapoorna was also instrumental in preventing many child marriages in the village and helped those who found themselves hemmed in by these traditions.

Speaking to told The Sunday Guardian, Neelam Makhijani, country director and CEO of ChildFund India, said, “We started working with the tribal villages in 2016. The journey has not been a smooth one. In Jabhua, Dhar and other districts, women do not have a voice or the right to take any decision. One of the biggest challenges for us was the mindset of the men folk. They were unable to comprehend when we explained to them how poultry can be a business. But once we started reaching out to the mass, more women came forward.”

Most tribal communities like the above ones are a residue of financial burden, hunger and insecurity. While it is a long way to go, at least a few from this marginalised section with ragged clothes, unkempt hair, dirt filled nails, extremely tanned skin and malnourished, have finally found their safe haven through such projects.

 

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