We use cookies for functional and analytical purposes. By continuing to use Seva Mandir’s website, you agree to this and to our Privacy Policy. That's Fine

23 Aug 2021

Rebooting Livelihoods Through Women Leadership

Sumi Devi is a 36-year-old farmer who lives in Rajpur village in Kotra, Rajasthan. The area is generally hilly and one of the most backward areas of the country on the human development index. Because of the low yield in revenue from traditional agricultural and animal husbandry livelihoods, families in Kotra have diversified their livelihood sources to include small businesses within their villages, daily wage labor in nearby urban areas, and migrant labor to other states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra. Mother of six children, Sumi Devi is an Adivasi woman from the Pargi tribe in Udaipur who has been working as a farmer on her land as well as a laborer in larger farms in the neighboring state of Gujarat.

In 2011, she was selected from her village to become a Balsakhi to ensure better early child care nutrition and learning for children. She has been actively encouraging and educating women in her village on understanding the importance of kitchen gardens for children's nutrition and household incomes. Sumi has been associated with Seva mandir's self-help group for the last two years and has been a very active member of her samooh.

Earlier last year during Covid-19 induced lockdown, Sumi and her group encountered a new challenge. Chand Dev* approached the group for financial assistance. His family needed immediate medical support and he did not have enough savings. Since Chand was a known member of the community and very much in need, women decided to ask for his 1 beegha land as a collateral and extend him a loan of Rs.30,000.

Sumi Devi saw this as an opportunity. After discussions in her group, it was agreed that the group should use the land for agriculture and distribute profit within the group. With the help of low-cost seeds from Seva Mandir and water from nearby sources, Sumi and her group were able to harvest 60kg Urad worth Rs 5000. From her earlier experience of working on a large farm in Gujarat, Sumi also hired two laborer for better yield. The harvest was sold together in the local Chikla market by Sumi and her group members.

Sumi shares "We used Rs3000 as group savings and distributed other Rs 2000 among women who could not get majdoori because of Covid. It was an experiment to try something new and we succeeded. We should not wait for anyone to help us during crisis; we already have so many resources around us"



Connect With Us: