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From Dreams to Reality: How Thriving Plantations Became Livelihoods

From Dreams to Reality: How Thriving Plantations Became Livelihoods

Rinku Devi, a young woman in her thirties from Barhi village of Jainagar block, Madhubani is the face of change. Married quite early to Birendra, a small-holder farmer, she led a modest life with her husband and children, surrounded by her in-laws. She had good leadership skills and loved to meet new people, interact and assist others. However, deep inside she felt a lacking. She was longing to be independent.

Rinku wanted to contribute economically and support her household. She had a few kattha of agriculture land, whose yield was just sufficient for family consumption. The other small piece of land unutilised, was unsuitable for farming.
In 2017 she became the part of a Self-Help Group in her Panchayat. She was very appreciative of the Panchsutra, which enlightened her on financial discipline, strengthening her belief in solidarity and community organisations. The SHG, Village Organisation (VO) and Cluster Level Federation (CLF) based exposure and interactions, built her confidence to view the world beyond her family, realising opportunities which were available and learn about social security schemes and entitlements.

During one such SHG meeting, she came across the MGNREGA plantation scheme, which provides end-to-end implementation support to individual beneficiaries for social forestry. With support from PCI TA RDD district team, she further learned that the MGNREGS would extend beneficiary support by providing planting materials, including saplings, fertilisers, irrigation provision and five years of incentive-based support through Van-Poshak. She was thrilled about this all-encompassing government scheme, which has a diversified socio-economic impact and long-term income-generation potential. To her, the Van- Poshak component was particularly attractive because earning an eight-day wage per month for 5 years could play a significant role in supporting the livelihood of her family.

Rinku discussed the scheme with her husband and family members detailing the opportunity. They were equally excited. However, they added a caveat that she would have to take the lead in this initiative as they were busy in their own work. PCI team assisted Rinku in submitting her application with all relevant documents. Her application received a timely sanction, and in March her land was geo-tagged and fenced off. A mix tree plantation began thereafter, comprising of fruit-bearing and timber plants. She qualified for Van-Poshak as well, which gave her the opportunity to earn a monthly MGNREGA wage (8 days/month).

Rinku is happy with the MNREGA plantation scheme. She mentions that it has assisted her in increasing her family’s income, utilising the vacant land to its full potential, securing future income and protecting the environment. She is also appreciative of the PCI field team’s assistance in educating her about the programme and resolving her questions.

The CLF, JEEVIKA and PCI teams applauded Rinku Devi for her accomplishments. It is expected that her achievements will inspire several others to pursue similar goals and remove the barriers that prevent them from spreading their wings to economic independence!

Authors: Manoj (CRP – TA RDD) & Vivek Raj (Block Coordinator – TA RDD), Madhubani
Editor: Sonmani Choudhary (SPM – TA RDD)
Coeditor: Ronnie Clive Francis (Manager – Communications KM)

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