Cow Rearing, Arunoday Parisar, Jurda, Chhattisgarh
On the outskirts of the small town of Jurda in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh is located Arunoday Parisar Kusht Ashram, a small leprosy colony. It is here that six middle-aged women took up the challenge of shifting from begging and menial labor to start a small dairy enterprise. A life time of social stigma and deprivation had eroded their confidence in themselves. After many deliberations they identified cow rearing and dairy farming as a feasible activity. With financial and technical support from S-ILF these women bought seven jersey cows. The women initially depended on a middleman who would give them less than INR 17 for a liter of milk when the market rate was INR 32. To make matters worse, four of their cows died of illness.
This was a setback for the group. Later, they realized they had been duped by the insurance company. At this stage, they decided to give up the enterprise. Timely intervention by the State Leader, Vijay Masih, family members and S-ILF helped them to resurface with renewed determination.
Following a series of counseling sessions and training workshops facilitated by S-ILF, these women resumed work to rebuild their enterprise. The real turn around began when the hotel manager where S-ILF conducted their training meetings gave them the order to supply milk to his hotel. Assured demand gave the enterprise the much needed stability and restored confidence among the women. Today, Bhoori Bai, Dhan Bai, Heera Bai, Sheila, Sulochna and Tiharin are happy beneficiaries of the enterprise (Deshawati had to exit due to health reasons). With 22 cows and buffalos this women’s enterprise is a thriving one. The secret to their success is a disciplined, team-led approach to work. Today, their cows are insured, their cow shed is well maintained and they have a number of committed buyers. Their husbands are also involved in the business. The women have upgraded their mud homes to pucca houses and bought their own sheep, goat and poultry to supplement their incomes. Today, this empowered women’s group is a source of inspiration to the local community and are instrumental in its growth!