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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-74: METLA NAGALAXMI!

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Metla Nagalaxmi is the second leader of Venkatalaxmi self-help group of Kavalakuntha village. She is 35 years old and is married to 40 year old Venkateswarlu. They have two sons studying in the 8th and 7th standards. They do not own land. They work as daily wage labourers; she earns Rs.30, while her husband earns Rs.50 per day. They used to be entirely dependent on labour for their income. Though they are from
the Yadava community, they could not rear sheep due to financial constraints.

One day an animator working in the APRLP programme explained to the women in the village about the formation, management and benefits of self-help groups. She told them about the importance of saving and how it would be useful in the future. Immediately Nagalaxmi took the initiative and persuaded nine other women in her neighbourhood to form the Venkatalaxmi self-help group with her. Each member saves Rs.50 per month. The group is now four years old and is running well.

In the first year of the formation of the group, three women borrowed Rs.30, 000 from the Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank and bought ten lambs. After one year, in 2004, they sold these sheep and made a profit of Rs.10, 000. The entire loan was repaid to the bank with Rs.1 interest. In 2005, two members took a loan of Rs.50, 000 from the same bank and bought twenty lambs. They reared them for five months

Then made a profit of Rs.10, 000 when they sold them. They repaid the loan fully. Later, ten members took Rs.10, 000 each from the same bank. Nagalaxmi bought a buffalo with the loan amount. After three months of purchase the buffalo delivered a female calf. It yielded two litres of milk per day, which she sold at Rs.10 per litre, earning Rs.20 per day, ie Rs.600 a month. Nagalaxmi repaid the loan at Rs.500 per
month. Now she fully owns the buffalo.

In January 2006, Nagalaxmi bought a Chilli Powder Making Unit for Rs.13, 000. She took a loan of Rs.5, 000 under the allocation for Productivity Enhancement of the revolving fund of APRLP at Rs.1 interest and organised another Rs.8, 000 on her own. She earns Rs.20 per day grinding chillies in the unit. She works either in the morning or in the evening. Thus she earns Rs.600 every month from the unit. During the day she works as a wage labourer. She also takes care of the buffaloes and the milk production.

Not only could Nagalaxmi take a loan of Rs.10, 000 from the revolving fund in 2006 to start a sheep business, she has been able to earn from it too. Her husband works as a sheep trader as well as a daily wage earner. He earns about Rs.3, 000 per month from these activities.

As her economic status has improved she has constructed a two-room pucca house for her family. Earlier Nagalaxmi could not even meet her basic needs. But now they lead a rich fulfilling life. All this became possible through self-help group and village organisation activities supported by the watershed development programme of APRLP.

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