Some project outcomes are measurable in terms of figures and statistics while many are in the form of social and cultural changes, which are immeasurable. They can only be felt and experienced. We are happy to share some stories of grit and determination that brought about immense measurable and immeasurable impacts on the lives of people.
Mr. Jay Santarao Chauhan’s journey is one of exemplary determination. He was an ordinary electrician with big dreams. At UPL Niyojaniy Kendra, he found a way to make his dreams come true. Not only did he got selected in the institute, he completed his training successfully. All the theoretical inputs and practical experiences at the institute helped him sharpen his skills and learn new ones. Today he is successfully employed as an Electrician at Deziner’s Lab Furniture Company. And he earns Rs 8000 per month which is more than double his earlier income. He is a very happy man today!
This is the story of Narendra Vasava who is currently working in UPL Jhagadia as a plant operator. Narendra joined SRSAT Ankleshwar and successfully completed his training. Narendra says that the trainers and the staff were very supportive and understanding. He not only got skilled in technical field but also got an opportunity to groom himself as a professional. Coming from a humble background (where his parents work on farm) Narendra had not imagined a better future than this.
This is the story of Jagruti Patel, who like many women in rural India are living a dignified life, thanks to the UPL Udyamita program. Self Help Groups or SHGs have become a household name impacting the lives of women and the society at large.
Jagruti was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, nor did she acquire much knowledge and skills during her growing years. Married to a small farmer in Kubhariya village of Pardi Taluka, Jagruti had resigned to her fate, which had given her a meagre income of Rs 1500- 2000 per month to live on. Life was difficult till the day Jagruti got introduced to Dhyey Utkarsh Group. She came to know about the SHG concept and the benefits associated with the same. She promptly decided to become a member and in 2014 embarked on a new journey (starting with a saving of Rs 100 per month).
Through the course of time, Jagruti became interested in starting an enterprise. She had attended many training programs on entrepreneurship (organized by UPL team) and had been on a number of exposure visits. Jagruti learnt the nuances of business and decided to start selling Papad (an Indian snack) which was made by her group members. She took a loan of Rs 7,000 from the group and started her business. She went door to door selling Papad and also sold some quantity through the village shops. Jagruti realised that the profits she received in this business were not rewarding enough. So she decided to start her own manufacturing. In one of her exposure visits, Jagruti had seen a Papad making unit and she had learnt the finer nuances from there. Confident of starting her own unit, Jagruti employed 2-3 SHG members too. Jagruti has displayed the traits of a good businesswoman, never compromising on quality. Villagers swear by the quality of her Papad and today she gets orders to the tune of 15- 20 kg per day. This helps her in earning a monthly income of Rs 5000- 8000.
Jagruti has become a confident woman now. She takes care of her business dealings, performs banking operations, gives her opinion in village meetings and is effectively contributing to the growth of other women too! Jagruti is on a path that only leads to success through hard work, dedication and confidence!
Hari Om Mahila Bachat Group was formed on 12.06.2012 with the initiative of 14 village women and the block development officials of Fulwadi Panchayat Union. Currently the group has a savings amount of Rs.48, 890. The group has been very regular with their monthly savings of Rs 100 and meetings. They realized that to grow economically, they needed to start some income generating activity. The group mutually decided that they would want to start a tailoring unit in the village. They approached the UPL officials for guidance. The block development and UPL officials forwarded a proposal for Economic Assistance under mission “Mangalam Yojana” for tailoring. The bank (Bank of Baroda, Jhagadia) provided a loan of Rs One Lakh to the group. The District Industries Centre also provided a 35% subsidy to the group. The group utilized this amount to buy tailoring machines and raw materials. This strengthened their existing skills and resource base and now all the members are involved in this trade on a full time basis. At present, each member is earning Rs 1000 every month from the tailoring work. This initiative is slowly transforming a socially and economically backward village into a progressive village on the path of development.
Life was no bed of roses for Suresh Gaeen, a farmer from Divdiyavan village in Waghai Taluka, where he lives with his family (wife and 2 children). Suresh’s family lived on a meagre annual income of Rs 48,000 which was derived from farming on his 3 acres land and the 2 buffalos and 4 cows he had. Suresh like other farmers in his village was growing Paddy in the traditional method which consumed 8-10 kg seeds per acre of land. The cost of weeding and fertilizers was also high. With the average production per acre being 700 kgs, farming was not a very profitable proposition for Suresh. However,like many other farmers in Dang, Suresh had resigned to his fate , till the date he attended a meeting on SRI technology organized by the UPL team. Suresh recalls how he got introduced to the SRI technology and the finer nuances of growing more Paddy per acre of land.
Multiple training sessions at the UPL Center for Agriculture Excellence , meetings with officials and exposure visit to other SRI farms opened the door for him. He recalls that the SRI booklet and Amritpani pamphlets by AKRSP (India) team were really helpful. The financial support from UPL further paved the way for Suresh to adopt the SRI technology.
With the new technology, Suresh saw 35-40 tillers per plant which was much more than the traditional method. The seed requirement also reduced by 40% thereby decreasing the cost of production. Suresh mentions that weeding has also become easier with the cono –weeder. At the same time, production of Paddy grain increased to a whopping 1250 kg per acre (which was 550 kg more than the traditional method). The size of the grain was better which fetched him a better price (Increase of INR 25 per 20 kg of grain).
Suresh feels proud that other farmers in his village look up to him as a progressive farmer and pay more respect now. The increase in purchasing capacity has helped in making life more comfortable for Suresh and his family. Suresh and hundreds of other farmers who have adopted the SRI technology are living a better quality of life today!
Meeraben lives in Dabdar village with her husband and 3 children. Meeraben is a member of the SHG formed in the village. During one of the meetings, she was introduced to the concept of landless garden for vegetables. She showed interest in the methodology and got support from the team. She practiced the concept and has been reaping benefits since then. Her family’s requirement of green vegetables is met from her own garden and this has drastically reduced her expenses on buying vegetables. Not only this, she gets fresh produce which has improved the nutritional value of her meals too. Looking at her experience, many of her neighbours have adopted the system too.
Chhota Bhai is a farmer from Vastana village in Kheda block. He is a real life hero for the Sarus cranes. He grows Paddy and Wheat on his land. Sarus cranes have been regularly visiting his fields since some time now. Though Chhota Bhai never cared for the birds earlier, he didn’t harm them either. It was sometimes in 2015 that he got to attend some of the awareness programs conducted by UPL’’s CSR team in his village. He became fascinated by the wonderful bird and decided to do something. He became a regular in all the meetings and programs on Sarus Conservation and soon became a member of the Rural Sarus Protection Group in his village. He underwent various training programs and workshops on Sarus conservation. Along with his knowledge, his love for the bird grew too. He has been instrumental in providing information on nesting’s, pairs, congregation sites etc. He actively spreads awareness about the bird and convinces his fellow farmers not to disturb the breeding pairs in the nesting season. Chhota Bhai has been responsible for successful fledging of 5 juveniles from 3 nests in his farm land and others. He is a true hero indeed!