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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-33: KASAMMA FIGHTS POVERTY!

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G Kasamma lives in Seethanagulavaram Village in Tarlubadu Mandal of Prakasam district.  Though she belongs to an upper caste she is very poor. She and her husband worked very hard as labourers. She earned Rs.20, and her husband earned Rs.60 as a daily wage. They were a poor and honest couple. They have two daughters and a son, and even though times were hard, they did not stop educating their children; in fact they gave it utmost priority.

In 1998, Kasamma learned that self-help groups were being formed in the village, and taking the lead she formed the Sarojini selfhelp group with 12 members. They opened a group account in the Syndicate Bank and started saving Rs.30 per member per month. Gradually they increased the savings amount to Rs.50 per month. The group borrowed Rs.88,000 from the bank and repaid it. In 2001 Kasamma took a loan of Rs.5,000. She bought a buffalo with the loan amount. When it was fully grown, it gave birth to a female buffalo. It produced 2 litres of milk per day; thus an additional Rs.20 was added to her daily earnings.

But Kasamma did not stop there; she kept on thinking about taking up a meaningful activity which would release her family from the clutches of poverty. Unfortunately the buffalo died due to illness. Kasamma’s group again borrowed Rs.88,000 from the bank and she took Rs.8,000 from the group and bought another buffalo. She got Rs.10,000 from the insurance company for the dead buffalo. With this money she repaid her first loan.

As part its activities the APRLP formed a village organisation in the village. The women unanimously selected Kasamma as the chairman of the village organisation. APRLP had sanctioned a revolving fund to the village organisation. In 2006 Kasamma borrowed Rs.20, 000 and started a small provisions shop in her house. She built a separate room in her house for the shop, at a cost of Rs.7, 000. The remaining Rs.13, 000 was invested in stocking items needed for the shop. She was able to earn Rs.30-40 per day from the shop. Her husband kept his job as a daily wage labourer. In January 2007 she again borrowed Rs.15, 000 from the revolving fund and upgraded her shop. She repaid the monthly interest regularly. Kasamma ably manages the activities of the village organisation and her own shop and sees that her children are educated at the same time. When her husband broke his hand and could not work she managed all their enterprises alone. She is a courageous woman, going forward alone. 

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