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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-58: A LEADER IS BORN!

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Narsimhulu and his wife Singineni Subbamma, belong to Chinnapalli village of C K Pally mandal in Anantapur district. They have a son, Subramanyam, who is studying for his Bachelor’s Degree. The couple is daily wage labourers and the family is poor. It was a tough life with a meagre, uncertain income.

Subbamma has been a member of the Saraswathi-II self-help group since 1995.  However, before the watershed programmes began, the status of women’s groups was pathetic. They did not function well. The group would take a loan of Rs.20, 000 from the bank.  All ten members of the group would divide it
equally among themselves, getting Rs.2, 000 each. This money would be insufficient for their purposes. Also, group members did not adhere to any social or financial norms of a self-help group.

In 2002, the staff of APRLP formed women’s groups and provided them with a lot of awareness and training. These self-help groups now started functioning well. Though she is illiterate, Subbamma was elected as the president of her village organisation. In February 2003, the village organisation distributed
Rs.150, 000 as loans to those identified as belonging to the poor, very poor and middle income categories. Subbama was given a loan of Rs.10, 000, to which she added her own Rs.5, 000 and bought a buffalo from the nearby village of Sanifa. The buffalo yielded five litres of milk in the morning and five more in the evening. By selling this milk at Rs.10 per litre, she started earning Rs.100 a day.

Subbamma spent this money on her son’s education. Being poor and knowing the value of money, she was very thrifty. She managed to clear the loan in seven months. While she improved her family’s economic situation, she also worked hard to ensure that her village organisation proved to be the best in the mandal. Her husband supported her fully and took care of the buffalo, giving Subbamma enough time to work for the organisation.  Subbamma took another loan of Rs.10, 000 from the organisation in 2006. With Rs.7, 000 she bought another buffalo from Perur village.  This buffalo gave her six litres of milk a day.  Of this, the family used one litre for their own consumption and sold five litres to the dairy, making Rs.50 a day.

Subbamma spends Rs.1, 000 on fodder and manages to save Rs.3, 500 a month. She pays Rs.400 towards her loan every month. Rs.4, 000 remains to be repaid and once it is done, the family’s income would increase. Both buffaloes have two calves and Subbamma plans to improve her dairy gradually.

Subbamma says, “Without the APRLP, I would have remained an anonymous Subbamma and my family would have stayed poor. I am sure there are many Subbammas, who would thank APRLP for giving them an identity and social status, along with secure income for their families. I sincerely thank APRLP for their excellent design to benefit scores of poor women and their families.”

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