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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-45: SABEMMA’S STORY!

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Sixty-year-old Sabemma lives in Singaram Village in Narayanpet Mandal of Mahaboobnagar district. Her husband is Sidappa. She has four daughters and three sons who are all married, except for one son. She has two acres of dryland and when the rainfall was sufficient they cultivated red and green gram. Sabemma worked as a daily labourer while her husband’s job was to graze cattle that belonged to upper
caste families.  This income helped to run the household. Gradually the number of cattle decreased and as a result Sidappa’s income dropped, so they had to migrate to Hyderabad for work.

With the money earned they purchased some sheep. Gradually the sheep multiplied and they had sixty sheep. With the sheep as surety they took a loan of Rs.70, 000 to help finance their daughter’s wedding. Then suddenly all the sixty sheep contracted an unknown disease and died.  Consequently they fell into debt and migrated to Hyderabad to try to recover their losses. In Hyderabad Sabemma took to vending fruits, walking around the streets with a basket-load.  One day when she was on her rounds a scooter
hit her. Her medical bills amounted to Rs.30, 000. When they were in this sorry state the couple decided to retreat to their home in the village. 

By then the watershed programme of APRLP had been launched in the village. So Sabemma joined the Jyothi self-help group and started saving regularly. Since she was unable to earn after the accident the village organisation decided to bail her out of a helpless situation by giving her a loan of Rs.20, 000 from the Livelihood Fund. Sabemma was able to set up a small provisions shop. She spent Rs.10, 000 on
the building for the shop, invested Rs.3, 000 on the groceries and she was in business.

In six months’ time her sales grew to Rs.300-400 per day from which Rs.30-40 was her profit. This amount was not enough for her to pay off her earlier debts and accumulated interest and also run the house. So she started a teashop at the same location. She was able to sell 80-100 cups of tea a day which earned her an additional Rs.50 per day. This income enabled her to pay Rs.500 to the village organisation towards the loan repayment and Rs.200 towards interest.   Over and above that she was able to save
another Rs.1, 500 per month. With this saving and the yield from the previous crop, Sabemma could repay Rs 40,000. She says that she is confident of repaying all her debts this year.

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