The women stalwarts of rural India
On the banks of Banas River, a little south of Jaipur is situated a small town named Tonk. It has a rich historical backdrop and is renowned for its old Havelis and mosques. For a quick mention, it houses the popular Jama Masjid.
But for us at Rang De, we have a community of women who hold a special place in our hearts in the rural abodes of Tonk. This story is about them.
“She wakes up at 5 a.m every day. She feeds the cattle and heads towards the dairy to sell the milk. She cooks food, gets the kids ready for school. Then does housework and manages our farm. She works non stop till 9 pm.” said Satyanarayan Meena when I asked him about his wife’s daily routine.
Rumali Devi is unpretentious at sight. When I spoke to her she was quite reserved. But as the conversations went on, it wasn’t hard to deduce she is one with an iron heart. The kind of effort she puts in for her family is just inspiring.
Rumali Devi puts food on the table and it doesn’t merely mean cooking wholesome meals. She takes it a step back. In her 5 bighas (roughly an acre)of land, she grows jowar, sarso, makka, urad, chana and other different types of dal for household use. She has been farming for 15 years and has never failed to provide. Her agriculture activities also provide for her cattle. The Jowar after harvest undergoes ‘kutti’ which means shredding. It serves as excellent cattle fodder.
Rang De social Investors joined Rumali Devi’s arduous journey. She wanted to install an engine pipe for irrigation. It would ensure her with a timely supply of water. Else she would have to rent it from neighbouring farms, paying an hourly rate. Also, wait for her turn to use the pump during peak season. This burden was eased when her loan of Rs 50,000 was funded by Rang De Social investors.
She now repays the loan with the amount she gets after selling milk. She has four buffaloes and the earnings from the dairy are used mainly to repay her loan instalments.
Rumali Devi is associated with Maitri Mahila Mandal Samiti Dooni (MMMSD) for the last 10 years. A network set by 5000+ rural women to initiate continuous action in empowerment, livelihood, sanitation, education & health. It also takes a call on surrounding social issues. The federation coaches its members about their rights and the rights of others around them. This allows for awareness of social evils such as alcoholism, castes, child marriage, and others. Members can act against these evils and know where to find help if they encounter them.
Roomali Devi says she has her credit needs sorted with the help of MMMSD. Being in a framework led by women, she got the opportunity to speak up and make her voice heard. Her husband Sathya Narayan says the SHGs have been empowering women to do more and take key decisions in the upbringing of the family.
Rang De Social Investors directly empower these women to pursue their ambitions.
Speaking of ambitions, Priyanka Meena a floriculturist backed by Rang De Social Investors shares her success story. She grows a myriad of flowers on her farm around the year. Her flowers are used for rituals, decorations, celebrations and are always in demand.
Her farm currently is embossed with a bed of marigold flowers. She also grows White Genda and Gulab. She took a loan of Rs 30,000 for irrigation and also bought the plant saplings. It takes her six months until the batch is completely sold off. She makes a livelihood out of this and is aspiring to upscale, as her business looks promising.
“MMMSD has helped with money. If I need credit now I can get it from Rang De, this is the benefit I am getting” says Priyanka.
Rang De Social investments know no bounds. It traverses borders, reaches different cultures and people. Yet one thing never changes, the massive impact it creates.
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Visit at www.rangde.in
(Image accredited to SRIJAN India)