Spotlight on: Nirmala, India
Nirmala Devi lives in the remote rural village of Tesobhan in Jharkhand, a north eastern state of India. She lives with her husband and her four children. As a woman, living in a remote rural area of India, she and her family suffer disproportionately from hunger and poverty to the rest of the Indian population.
Nirmala and her family suffer from poor nutrition and food shortages for six months a year. She relies on a small plot of land to grow food for her whole family. But the soil is degraded and she can't afford the tools and good quality seeds she needs to increase her crops. Her family also struggles because access to water is very scarce. This makes it even harder for Nirmala to grow food, especially as she is increasingly having to deal with erratic weather conditions such as drought as a result of climate change.
With our support, Nirmala has joined a women's support group in her village. Nirmala and the other women in the group have been trained in basic numeracy so they can start to save a little each month (37p) and provide loans to each other. This means Nirmala can take out a loan in case of emergencies and can invest in seeds and tools for her land. We have also supported Nirmala to attend training at a farmer field school where she has learnt low-cost and sustainable farming techniques.
This has helped her to grow more food for her children and tackle the challenges she faces, such as water shortages and degraded soil, which are the result of climate change. Now her family is healthier and more resilient and is starting to build a future free of poverty and hunger.
"Water is a big problem in this area, so we have to struggle very hard. (With support from Find Your Feet) I have attended a Farmer Field School and learnt how to make compost and how to space my crops. I also learnt how to make leaf plates to sell. Now, I have adopted the practices on my crops and I have doubled my production of rice, potato, vegetables, onions and gourds. The money I earn making leaf plates I spend on medicine for my family and education for my children."
In the past five years, we have supported 5,827 women like Nirmala from 200 villages in rural Jharkhand, enabling them to grow more food, earn more money and access better healthcare. This project was made possible with the support of the Big Lottery Fund.