Little smiles that tell the story !
The Livelihood Recovery for Peace (LRP)project has extended a direct grant support of Rs. 40 million through the Rural Women Upliftment Association (RWUA) in Sarlahi and with Ratauli Yuva Club (RYC) in Mahottari to create employment opportunities mostly for the vulnerable and marginalized communities, especially poor women.
Conflict in the terai (low lands) has emerged mainly due to the region being marginalized from the mainstream development for several decades despite of the fact that terai is rich in its agricultural produce.
- In 2011, with LRP support, 6,003 disadvantaged households have received seed grants to start Income Generating Activities.
- In 2011, with LRP support, 105 Women's Rights Forums were formed, trained and mobilised.
For generations, illiteracy and poverty combined with traditional social customs have deprived the women from any opportunities to progress further. As a traditional practice, not only were the women confined to the four walls of their houses but they also lacked skills or financial resources to start any income generating activities. With the intervention of LRP, a host of new opportunities for women have come up for starting new enterprises.
Dipmala Mahato is one of the 32 members of Sugaulo Jibikoparjanlivelihood group formed by the project to empower the most vulnerable communities in the central terai. She and eight others have leased two bighas (1.35 hectares) of land in Ranigunj to do vegetable farming. Others have started piggery, poultry, goat rearing and other small businesses as grocery. Today the leased farm is lush green with vegetables like gourds, long beans, brinjals and chillies.
Dipmala still lives in a one room mud house which is roughly the size of a table tennis board. Nevertheless, she is beginning to feel the social empowerment that economic prosperity can bring. She now has an active life selling her vegetables and also those grown by her neighbours in the local open market organised twice a week.
Nirmala Mahato says, "I am grateful to the LRP support, I have made a net income of Rs. 23, 000 in the past five months. I was able to pay back the rent of Rs. 8000 for this leased land as well.”
A Mushahar couple, classified as one of the most backward Dalit communities has also opened a small grocery shop and is selling goods worth Rs. 1200 a day at Dhab of Pidari village in Sarlahi. Asha Devi Majhi, says that her husband has given up the idea of going to Qatar in search of work. The couple is depositing Rs. 200 a day in a local cooperative from the income they make from their little grocery shop !
These little successes represent the stories of 3,375 households in a very poor category who currently are supported by the LRP.