Empowering vulnerable women from vulnerable communities is the priority of YFA. Hence, YFA promoted income generation household activities to improve women’s economic position and women’s status in the society. The initiatives contributed in improved health and nutritional security.
Sheep Rearing :
One of the important activity demanded by women of sangha was “Sheep Rearing”. The activity was further discussed as the area is highly drought prone and there is always the shortage of fodder for sheep. The women provided the technical vision that ovine animals such as sheep browse the dry matter and can survive longer drought periods in comparison to goats and bovine animals. YFA was surprised to know the logic of traditional knowledge and further consulted a veterinary doctor for confirmation. That was found to be correct and the programme was then implemented. Kondamma W/o Kurmannaof Thomapally village says that the activity has brought an additional income of Rs.3800 to her family which supplemented their income and at the same time about Rs.1200 she used for children education. Today she got additional ewes which assured sustainable income. In this way we found a sustainable strategy of food security even during the bad times.
Baleswaramma of Rangavaram village is a landless agriculture labourer. Her husband Shekhar is unable to go for work due to his poor health. The burden of managing the household food and economic needs is the responsibility of Baleswarmma. Her family is an extended joint family with about 4 adults and 3 children. Her father and mother-in-law also does not go for work due to their old age. Baleswaramma struggles hard to get at least basic food and always shares her agony with other sangha members. The sangha members after seeing her difficulty put forward a suggestion during the sangha meeting for assisting Baleswarammafor some additional support which can bring some income and also nutrition to her children. The idea then shared with YFA team and inturn, YFA team requested them to pass a resolution so that Baleswaramma can be assisted through income generation programme of sheep rearing. It was informed that YFA would provide Rs.5000/- and sangha or Baleswaramma should contribute towards insurance and part cost of sheep. The sangha collectively assisted the support for insurance and YFA provided the share of YFA assistance to buy a pair of Ram-lambs. These Ram-lambs procured are now reared by Baleswaramma and these Ram-lambs expected to fetch around Rs.12000-14000/- which will be helpful in creating additional income, food and nutritional security of her family for about 4-6 months of the year. YFA further suggested that out of the profit it would wise if Baleswaramma can reinvest and repurchase the Ram-lambs then over a period of time she can be self-reliant. The local sheep are efficient in surviving in hot weather and during droughts as it relies on agriculture waste, agriculture residue and dry matter. Today Baleswaramma says that she psychologically strengthened as the pair of sheep brings psychological, social and income security. Such assistance improved her confidence and moral. She expressed her heartfelt thanks to sangha and YFA for the support.
Nutritional and economic empowerment of BusireddypallyJyothi and other sangha members:
Busireddypally is an interior village situated on the boarder of Pebbair and Pangal Mandal. Most of the people in this village eakout their leaving through agriculture and agriculture labour. Many of the sangha members informed in sangha meetings that the employment programme NREGA was suspended for a longtime due to regular strikes by the Government staff on bifurcation issues. The sangha members thus faced hardships due to political and prolonged drought conditions in the village. In these circumstances it has been found that the Dalits, tribal and landless families face multiplication of problems as many of them does not have land and irrigation. Migration or borrowing loans in leave of labour commitment is only the option available to these sections of the society. BusireddypallyJyothi is one of the landless family of the vulnerable community with large family to support. Many of times she would migrate with her husband Venkatesh to nearby towns to generate enough income and food. This year also she was planning to migrate Kurnool town in case of any assistance. The sangha members highlighted her case and poor status in one of the meetings of sangha and requested whether she can be linked to bank for assistance. The petition to Bank made by sangha could not result in positive affirmation as Jyothi could not offer any asset for loan. At this juncture based on the request YFA came forward and agreed to provide the grant assistance to Jyothi. YFA put forward a condition that the sangha members and Jyothi together has to contribute a small part of their contrition for the identified activity of Sheep Rearing as it can fetch good income and also an asset. Accordingly, she was trained in basic veterinary education and also linked the sheep rearing activity to insurance company. Later the sangha members have also identified another 5 vulnerable women members of the sangha and each one of them were assisted by YFA Rs.5000/- for a pair of Sheep unit. Jyothi and other women reared the sheep for about 6 months and earned about Rs.14500/- and after deducting our investment and support we earned around Rs. 6500 – Rs.8000/- which ensures at least 40 days of food support to our family. A small portion is being kept for reinvestment and with repeat assistance we will become slowly self-reliant and build assets in the name of women. Jyothi sincerely thank YFA in empowering her status in the society.
Collective action empowers women’s organization:
This case study is totally narrated by the women of Sri GirijaArogyaSujala Sangha: We are about 47 members of Girija sangha is working for more than 2 years in our village to get access to basic and fundamental services of health, water and sanitation. We emphasize our efforts on health as our health gets least priority in the family and society. The preparation of village action plan brought enough awareness about how the local institutions should work.
Before bifurcation of the state we had a Anganwadicenter which used to assist on an average 14-15 pregnant women and for about 18-21 children under 3 years with supplementary food and counselling. But in the last 2-3 year these centers work off and on and when we enquire the Anganwadi teacher would always say and confuse us saying that you are all not eligible for food support and sometimes she would say there are no resources sent by the Government Department due to strikes. We initially, believed but slowly started recognizing that if we approach Govt. of India in New Delhi through filling an RTI application (under Right to Information Act) then it would give positive impact on the state government and also on the local government functionaries. Accordingly we requested the YFA staff member Mr.Nagaraju whether he can help us. Mr.Nagaraju readily accepted their suggestion and drafted a RTI application on behalf of the group and sent the request to The Health Secretary of Govt. of India on 09th Nov, 2015. The application was also circulated to Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India. Since the application was from a women group seeking the fundamental services of supplementary food particularly during drought period The Secretary immediately sent a Government directive to the State Secretariat and the State Secretary directed the petition to the District collector to initiate the required action and report him back. The District Collector chided the concerned child development officer at Kollahapur and one can see the functioning of Anganwadicenter within 15 days. On the other hand, the child development officer conducted an enquiry and suspended the local functionaries. She also directed the District Rationing officer to make special consideration and provision of supplementary food. The food has finally arrived to the center after gap of about 21 months. The victory of women group in Pulghacherla would serve as a case example for other women to follow and mobilize local resources through convergence.
Handicapped to Entrepreneur-the story of Govindamma
Govindamma, a 25 years old woman from Mallaiapally village is the eldest among four daughters of her parents. Her father passed away eight years ago leaving behind a family of five after which every passing day has been a struggle for survival. Her three younger sisters go to school and the entire responsibility of looking after the family lies with her mother who works as a daily wage labourer. Govindamma had a polio attack at an early age leaving her right leg paralyzed and is barely able to walk without support. Due to her disability, she was always discriminated at social gatherings and she hardly had any friends. Like any other woman, she also has dreams and aspirations of getting married and having a family but somewhere deep within she knows that it will never happen. YFA supported her with a tailoring machine and training which was an opportunity for her to be economically independent as well as to support her mother in looking after her siblings. She now stitches garments for women and children and earns Rs 100 to 150 daily on an average. She is now able to contribute to the family income and feels proud of that. The family is able to meet the expenses for her sibling’s schooling, medical and other necessities from her income. During our last visit to her house she couldn’t stop thanking YFA for their support. We recorded her words as we felt those were the best reward for our work with the most vulnerable and excluded communities. In her words, Govindamma says “My life was meaningless earlier. I had nothing to do but sit idle at home and watch my mother toiling hard to feed us. Am now very happy as am now helping my mother in taking care of the family. Am now happy to see my sisters going to school and I wish them all the happiness in life which I was denied off.”
Women’s Day Celebration
YFA decided to celebrate “International Women’s Day” as a part of creating awareness on nutritional food as a measure of reduction in anaemic condition of women and children of the project area. YFA team along with Sangha members of 10 villages decided to organise rally to achieve this objective on 10th March 2012.
In the morning all the Sangha members and other women of the villages were assembled at community hall and discussed about healthy food, kitchen gardens, nutritional diet, millets and other best practices for good health and hygiene life. Village children were also joined in the discussion as also in the rally. YFA distributed play cards to the women and children.
Rally began from the community hall roaming all the villages by chanting the slogans on nutritious food, anaemic conditions, best practices, inclusion of leafy vegetables in daily diet, etc.
Through this rally, YFA team could generate awareness not only among women but among community at large.
Community dinner to promote multigrain flour
A community dinner followed by night stay was planned in the month of March by YFA Karyakarthas in the village KonnurThanda. The dinner was joined by around 50 villagers including women, children and men. YFA team has created awareness among the farm women and Sangha members about the nutritious food to reduce anaemic condition.
A day before this programme, the Sangha members collected sorghum, ragi, wheat, grams from the village
Anganwadi. Multigrain flour was made of all these grain. On the day, Sangha members gathered in the common place of the village along with YFA team. These women have made Roti out of this multigrain flour. Roti was served with leafy vegetables grown in their kitchen garden. Beneficiaries liked taste of multi grained roti.
This gentle effort was made to create awareness to make them experience advantages of multigrain flour. As a result, now almost all women of the village started incorporating multigrain roti their daily diet.