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Friday, July 29, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-67: SAROJAMMA – LIVING LIFE ON HER OWN TERMS!
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In this part of the world the aged have to depend on their children for survival. We often hear complaints about children who don’t care about old parents; there are pathetic stories of parents being thrown out of homes. The current story is a contrast.

Fifty five year old Sarojamma and her sixty year old husband Kotha Subba Rayudu live in Daduloor village in Kanaganapalli mandal of Anantapur district. They have three children.  Their oldest son Chiranjeevi is married and lives separately with his wife. Their daughter Shantamma is also married. Their youngest son Anjaneyulu is 20 years old and lives with them.  Both Sarojamma and her husband worked as agricultural labourers, but as he got older Subba Rayudu was unable to do heavy work.
With money drying up they did not have the funds to educate Anjaneyulu at the ITI. They sold a piece of their land to finance their daughter’s marriage.

Sarojamma has been the president of Aradhya Women’s Group for the past 15 years. She took a loan of Rs.10, 000 under APRLP and purchased 6 goats. Her husband used to take the animals out to graze. She saved Rs.50 per month with the self-help group and also repaid Rs.400 per month towards the loan. She faced problems of money once in a while but she overcame all of them. The goats she purchased gave birth and the herd grew in number. In March 2005, she took another loan of Rs.10, 000 from the village
organisation and increased the number of goats from 6 to 11, and another Rs.10,000 in 2006 to purchase 4 more goats. She now has 15 adult goats and 4 kids. Sarojamma also stores the goat droppings and sells them once a year during summer. She gets Rs.500 for one tractor load.

With money available at last, Anjaneyulu was able to join the ITI Whenever Sarojamma needed money to run her household or pay for Anjaneyulu’s books and fees she sold a few of the goats. Earlier, when her daughter Shantamma visited them, they could not offer her new clothes and they felt bad. But, thanks to the goats she could now give her new clothes and feed her well. She gave a young goat to her daughter as a gift and every time she visited she gave her Rs.500-1,000 in cash. Chiranjeevi was also treated well during his visits to the family.

People are surprised to see Sarojamma run the family without depending on anybody at her age. She does not subscribe to the idea that parents should depend on children’s earnings.  They earn their own livelihood. She wants to be independent as long as possible and does not want to be a burden on anybody. Sarojamma lives life with dignity, thanks to the project.

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