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Chamo Oraon -- Participant -- Trickle Up
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Chamo Oraon, her husband, and their three children have migrated to Uttar Pradesh annually for the past five years, making only $35 to $45 in six months. Forced by a lack of income, the extreme poor in India often migrate, at times to other states, to work in the harsh conditions of brick kilns. Those who migrate often face discrimination in their own community because, as Chamo Oraon explains, migrating is "not dignified."
Because they were forced to migrate regularly, Chamo Oraon and her husband could not attend many community meetings in their village, Khapia, in Jharkhand. In 2010, however, Chamo and her family took the bold decision not to migrate after learning from Trickle Up and local partner Lohardaga Gram Swarajya Sansthan (LGSS) that there would be better alternatives to migration if they stayed home. They would take part in Trickle Up’s livelihood program and begin to earn enough money in their own community to support the family year-round. The first year would be a challenge, but Chamo was willing to take the chance.
First, Chamo and her husband learned that "if your work is properly managed, it will give you better earning opportunities [than the brick kiln]." Chamo, with four other women joined together to purchase an irrigation pump and tubing, financed by Trickle Up grants. Using the pump-set for irrigation, Chamo grows onions and rice paddy on sharecropped land as well as onions and beans in her kitchen garden, supplying her family with food and offering cash crops to sell.
Like all Trickle Up participants, Chamo is an active member of her self-help savings group, which offers a safe place to save and ready access to loan capital. When she worked at the brick kiln the family’s savings were always at risk since there was no secure place to keep their belongings. Here in her own village she’s already had a chance to visit the bank, with LGSS staff by her side. Chamo says she will no longer be afraid next time she goes to the bank. An active member of her self-help group, Cha Mo has taken two loans, one of which she has repaid, for her children's education.
Through visits from LGSS staff and during her savings group meetings, Chamo has also learned how to access India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), which guarantees up to 100 paid days of employment per year to rural families.During the dry months of 2010, Chamo and her husband increased their income by working 20 to 25 days on an NREGA project, earning 100 rupees per day.
Today, Chamo and her husband attend various community meetings in their village. After learning about the alternatives to migration through Trickle Up, Chamo has become an active member of her self-help group and her village.