A Day in the Life of an Indian Wife

All women of the world worry about the same things: themselves, their family, their work.  Sometimes the lived daily experience of this is quite different.  This is Meenadutta’s story, as told to Geraldine Visser.

india honey bees

“I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning, 4 at the latest. I first do all the household work: the different activities like cooking or taking care of my in-laws. I then send the children to school so they get there at 8. Then I take some food.

I have time to do all the income generating activities like honeymaking or knitting from 12 until 3. I was trained [By another NGO] to knit different designs. After 3, I am busy with household again; I take care of my in-laws and children. I go to bed at 11.

Before the project we were in the 4 walls of the house. Now we are involved in different activities: beekeeping, and also vegetable growing. We can also go out: if there is a honey fair, we all go and sell the honey there. We make good profit and it is very helpful to the family. We are feeling very proud because we are mixing with you people [NGO members from the state capital city and European volunteers].

We are not alone.

I would like to use my savings to buy a sewing machine. My dream is to unite all the women members and bring a strong platform to start a wool production centre where we all work together getting good income to support our families. We could sell our wool products at the market with the honey.’’ 

india gardens

Tribal women find they face less discrimination when they act in a group.  Despite India’s booming economy Meendutta has problems getting credit from the bank for her business.  With perseverance and the support of our NGO partner JRP that should change. Communal Self-Help groups provide a supportive atmosphere for livelihood activities.

To help Meendutta and other women like her 

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Strengthening Ecological Resources with Pramila Jena

This story was told to Geraldine from innocent foundation who recently visited our Eco-Berhampur project in India.

JRP has been working for nearly two years in the village of Barhampur, on the Chilika Lake Lagoon. They support villagers in strengthening the ecological resources of their environments.

One of the ways to do this is through vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is the process of composting using a mixture of food waste. Villagers use cow faeces, mix it with vegetable peels, and add a kilogram of worms.

Vermicompost acts as a natural nutrient-rich fertiliser and soil conditioner – perfect for the villagers to use on their crops. It encourages organic farming and high yields. Using this vermicompost, they have already produced 600kg of vegetables and cashew nuts. They also sell the vermicompost to other farmers to use on their crops.

india vermicompost

Pramila Jena, along with other self-help group (SHG) members, has been trained to look after a vermicompost pit as she had some land she could cultivate. Before JRP started the project, her husband was more involved with the farming. Thanks to JRP, women received training to become small-scale farmers. She has learned how to cultivate the ground so now she and her husband do the same things. She adds: “My husband was very supportive and wanted me to be involved with JRP to keep on being happy.”

Pramila Jena has a beaming smile on her face and is very happy to belong to the self-help group. Her family business has grown a lot: not only do they look after a vermicompost pit, they also fish, farm prawns, and cultivate cashew nuts. Which all means that her children have a much more diverse diet than they did before the family became involved with JRP and the family has more household income.

One of the other key advantages of vermicompost is that food waste is removed from the village, therefore reducing the number of mosquitoes and houseflies, and providing a more sustainable environment.  

Please join innocent foundation and add your support the strengthening of the Chilika Lake Lagoon ecosystem and our other projects now

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