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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-51: SOUJA BI’S HARD WORK PAYS OFF!

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Syed Souja Bi is married to Abdul Razzak and they have three daughters and one son. She used to weave mats from palm leaves at the rate of two to three mats per day. She sold these mats to a trader at Rs.10 each. Her husband earned Rs.1, 000 per month from doing business in cattle, but the going was tough for the family. They have five acres of land but it is totally dependant on rains.

Souja Bi participated in the watershed and related programmes organised by RAIDS (Rural Action In Development Society) and learnt several new things which she could use to earn a livelihood. Immediately she formed a self-help group named Sumiya with twelve members of which she was the leader.

In 2004 she took a loan of Rs.10, 000 at 1% interest from the village organisation and some more from outside sources and invested Rs.25, 000 in a flour mill. Souja Bi did brisk business as there was no fl our mill in the village and the villagers had to go ten kilometers to grind their grain. On an average she earned
about Rs.50 per day. Thus she was earning Rs.1, 500-2, 000 per month. Some money went to pay for electricity, and some was used to repay her loans.

Later she also bought a chilli grinding mill for Rs.6, 000 and started operating it. She earned Rs.500 per month from the chilli-grinding mill.  So she worked and earned money, repaying the group punctually and educating her children well.

Because of the APRLP watershed programme there was a huge benefit to the village. One such benefit was that Souja Bi’s land became cultivable. So she took a loan of Rs.10, 000 from the APRLP revolving fund for productivity enhancement and invested it in agriculture. She sowed groundnut from which she made a profit of Rs.10, 000.

She stands as a live example that by working hard there is nothing that cannot be achieved. 

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