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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-35: RAJAMMA’S STORY!

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A Case Study of THE ANDHRA PRADESH RURAL LIVELIHOODS PROJECT

Thirty year old G Rajamma lives in Kavalakuntla Village in Pullacheruvu Mandal of Prakasam with her husband China Venkataiah who is ten years older, two daughters and a son. Rajamma and her husband worked as wage labourers earning Rs.50 a day. But sometimes there was no work and they had to sit idle. They could neither educate their children nor buy new clothes for them. They could not even attend functions at houses of relatives in neighbouring villages. They belong to the Golla caste but they did not own any sheep or goats. Thus they were living in extreme poverty.

When she learnt that women were joining self-help groups, she too joined the Jana Sravanthi self-help group comprising ten members and so started saving Rs.50 per month. She attended all the discussions and meetings of the group to discuss poverty and livelihoods issues and strategies. She learnt about small income generation activities. APRLP provides a revolving fund to village organisations to help enhance livelihood opportunities for the poor members and in turn the village organisations extend loans to their members for income generation activities.

Rajamma selected dairy farming as an income generation activity. She took a loan of Rs.10, 000 from the village organisation to purchase a buffalo. She paid Rs.1, 000 per month towards repayment of the loan. Next she took another loan of Rs.5, 000 and started a small shop near the bus stand close to her home to sell cigarettes, bidis, chocolates, biscuits and provisions. She stopped going to work as a labourer. Now her husband manages the shop as he is too sick to work as a labourer. The buffalo delivered two calves and provides 3 litres of milk per day which is sold at Rs.10 per litre. Thus she earns Rs.30 per day from selling milk. The buffalo and two calves are worth Rs.20, 000. In January 2007, she took a loan of Rs.15, 000.  With Rs.10, 000 she bought a fridge and with Rs.5, 000 bought cold drinks to sell from the shop. The shop has now been upgraded and does brisk business since it is well located in front of the bus stand. She and her husband are managing the shop and the buffaloes.

A poor, illiterate woman has been able to stop working as a labourer and is now the proud owner of a shop. All this was made possible with the support and cooperation extended to poor women by APRLP.

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