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Into the Light

Trickle Up Video

Into the Light

A spotlight into the lives of women living in extreme poverty in rural India who are working with Trickle Up to build sustainable livelihoods and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their children. Meet Sikha Mondal, Anima Mondal, Roma Sardar, Arati Singh, Bichitra Mistiri, and Nasira Gazi!.

Transcript
 
Trickle Up, with grant support from Metlife foundation, targets to reach out to more than a 100,000 households in India.
As a pilot initiative to reach this target, it partnered with local organization Brasari to facilitate first steps out of poverty for 300 ultra poor and 900 extremely poor women and their families in the Sundarban area of West Bengal
Sikha Mondal: “It was very difficult to run the household back then. My husband used to migrate for work. My son and daughter were studying. Three years back I never even thought that I could accomplish so much. After joining the Women’s group, now I can do so much more. Now I am profitably raising ducks, goats, and running a grocery store. I am also cultivating crops, living a good life, eating good food. It’s difficult to stand alone, but together we can stand tall and firm.”
Anima Mondal: “Initially we were classified into two groups. (Ultra Poor and Extremely Poor). One group of those who have a bit of land and the other group were landless. I was enrolled into the ultra poor group. At first, I opened a small shop. With the initial profit from the shop, I bought ten hens. Profits from raising the hens helped me start a small fishery. With the income from the fishery, I bought two goats, which multiplied to eight and I sold them for 8000 rupees. With that profit I cultivated rice using the SRI technique, which yielded 16 quintals of rice. Previously I used to feel scared to go to the bank, never even had I seen a bank. After joining the SHG, all my fears of banking are now gone.”
Arati Singh: “The project staff only encouraged us to join the women’s group. They taught and guided us on what we should do as a group. They motivated us to stand on our own feet, and become self-independent. Then we became convinced and started this group. Previously my husband used to migrate to other states for work quite often. Now he goes much less. Now we women are working hand in hand with our husbands. Previously we could never give our children pocket money. We were dependent on our husbands for buying school supplies of our children. After joining the group, we women can bear our children’s educational expenses.”
Other woman: “My son suddenly fell very sick. Fortunately my group gave me 10000 rupees. Thus I was able to afford treatment for my son, who is much better now.”
Arati Singh: “Those who received financial seed capital for livelihood activities are ultra poor. But we, who are also poor, are a bit better off. That’s why the Ultra Poor needed financial help to stand in life. But for us, the various trainings were sufficient to help us grow in life. We have received training about timely vaccination of animals, when to administer medicines, details on how to breed fish more successfully, kinds of animal diseases, why our ducks and hens used to die previously. All these trainings helped us to keep our livestock healthy.”
Bichitra Mistiri: “Three years back, only my husband used to earn. I had to beg from him to meet the basic needs of my children. How long can one go on eating out of her husband’s earnings? We women have to find a way out, to start earning. I made my husband understand that he would not be able to do hard labour once he gets old so we need to find alternative livelihoods for income, start saving money, open a bank account and stand on our own feet. Local money lenders charge high interest on loans, whereas, our group loans out money to the women at nominal interests. One never knows when calamity befalls; accidents, deaths… I have to secure my children’s futures. If I suddenly die, and my children receive a lakh of rupees, I at least know they will not have to beg on the streets. Considering this, I have opened a life insurance policy.”
“I have been able to acquire all this wisdom only through joining the women’s group. We never knew anything. I cannot just sit idle with all this knowledge. Now my challenge is to use this knowledge to grow in life.”
Nasira Gazi: “Hello everyone, my name is Nasira Gazi. Initially we were an unimaginably poor community. After forming the group, we women have prospered immensely. Now I bear my children’s entire educational expenses. Even my children’s clothes and entire getup has greatly improved. Now I can comfortably meet my children’s needs.”
“After joining the group, people have started respecting me much more. The women of my group look up to my guidance. This makes me feel extremely blessed.”
Future Plans:
Sikha Mondal: “We have to take our group ahead with all the knowledge we gained through various trainings.”
Nasira Gazi: “We have a plan to form a business collective of women from the four Panchayet areas. If we can keep this collective together, better paths will open for us.”
Anima Mondal: “With the existing resources, we’ll try to diversify into bigger businesses.”
Arati Singh: “If our businesses go well, we plan to buy a chilli powder grinder. We can cultivate chilli, grind them and open a small company.”
Narrator: The three year project was completed through a closing ceremony on the 29th of September, where hundreds of women travelled great distances to attend this empowering event which was also represented by government officials, staff from Basari, and Trickle Up
Woman at ceremony: “Just the way a child learns from his teachers, we women have learned from our Trickle Up mentors.”
Another woman: “We cannot just stop here. We have to head towards further development.”
Amalendu Pal: “What would be your plan to take your inititative forward in the next 36 months? My second desire is to know your dreams for your child’s future. Thirdly, what I want to know from you Is, can you empower another woman, just as you have been, within the next three years. Write to me about these three things, so that we can think about the future.”
Dreams:
Sikha Mondal: “I have a dream of opening a poultry farm in the future.”
Arati Singh: “My biggest dream is to secure a bright future for my children.”
Anima Mondal: “My dream is to greatly expand on my existing broiler chicken farm.”
Nasira Gazi: “My dream is to grow even more, to be known by people far and wide.”
Narrator: The baton has been handed over. Initial trainings have been completed. And now the race for an enhanced life is theirs to run.