How the only custom hiring centre for women in Kashmir is changing the lives of local farmers?
The story of Kashmir's Fauzia became an inspiration for women and farmers
It seems really unimaginable sometimes, adding only 25 rupees a week, after some time doing own business and earning so much income, which can cover the expenses of the household and taking care of the children. But Shaheen, a resident of Chakpora village in Pulwama, Kashmir, did it. In Shaheen’s house, where it was also a challenge to arrange the goods to meet the daily needs, today she is able to take good care of the children by becoming successful.
Shaheen, a resident of this small village on the way from Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on the way to the capital Srinagar, took two cows earlier this year. For this, she took a loan of Rs.1.25 lakh as a member of a group of women named ‘Imaad’, in which the women of the village add only Rs.25 per week. This group is associated with the scheme of the National Rural Livelihood Mission and in Kashmir, it is named as Umeed. There is a special personality behind the success story of Shaheen and many such women farmers and cattle ranchers, whose name is Abida Ashraf. Abida is known by the name of Fauzia by most of people.
Successful at 25, Started her mission at the age of 20
Shaheen is a student of curious and aware nature. She is fond of listening to news and programs on Radio Kashmir. After doing post graduation in rural development, now she is thinking of doing PhD in same subject. Shaheen recalls that it was five years old when, like every day, she was listening to radio while cleaning the house. Then the talk of the ongoing program on the scheme of National Rural Livelihood Mission came to her ears.
This scheme, started by the central government in 2013. It was also started in Jammu and Kashmir and it was implemented in 2016 in Pulwama as well. By chance, the officers working for the mission came to the village on the same day. Fauzia also spoke to him. Fauzia found the plan right and persuaded the women of the village to do so. She formed several Self Help Groups. Each group was joined by 8 to 12 women, who collected Rs.25 a week. After a month, the amount accumulated became her capital. Any member who needed money, took a loan from that amount and then returned it after a month with an additional 1% as group fund. Gradually this capital increased. Then the group’s bank account was opened and audit was also done. The group started investing this amount in different types of business, which at first started generating small income.
Women benefited from custom hiring centre
Firoza, another woman associated with the group, tells that in the meantime she joined a group of women with the Horticulture Department. These women bought 10 agricultural implements like tractor, generator, tiller in 2021 with their deposited money. For this item worth Rs 11 lakh, the group gave Rs 2.10 lakh, the rest got subsidy. The equipment these peasant women brought on rent for plowing their plantations and fields, spraying medicine, etc., are now procured from their own group at a lower price than the market. This not only saves money, but also increases the income and capital of the group. This is called a Custom Hiring Centre. This is the first centre run by women in Kashmir. Not only the members of the group, other farmers also benefit from this. Those farmers take tractors etc. on rent. This costs them 15-20 percent less than the market. Faujia says that so far 150 farmers have benefited from this centre.
Interestingly, this group run by women in Kashmir is becoming a source of income for men who are unemployed or have free time. A person from the village or nearby is called to operate the equipment. In return, they are paid wages. A shop has been hired outside the village, near the main road, to keep all the equipment. Fauzia has many interesting stories that narrate the success of these groups formed by peasant women. Fauzia tells that Shazia Yusuf, a woman from Gudura village, was upset, whose group helped financially to open a garment shop. One such girl needed Rs 20,000 to pay her sister’s college fees, the group helped her too.
Fauzia became the trainer of trainers
Having encouraged many people and especially women, Fauzia is now working as a trainer of trainers. Fauzia tells that she does and teaches work like workshops etc. to documentation for people engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry etc. The above schemes are also supported by NABARD. He says that the self-help group helps in the current income or running the house, as well as the group provides financial help in case of old age or disability of the group member.
Contact us – If farmers want to share any valuable information or experiences related to farming, they can connect with us via phone or whatsapp at 9599273766 or you can write to us at “[email protected]”. Through Kisan of India, we will convey your message to the people, because we believe that if the farmers are advanced then the country is happy.