Organic products: How women farmers of a small district created ‘Korea brand’, read this unique story of struggle of thousands of women
The first self-help group formed in 2001
Today we are going to tell you about one such woman, who has achieved the status of a successful entrepreneur fighting odd circumstances. She has worked for the upliftment of women of her area. Recently, Kisan of India met Neelima Chaturvedi at the International Trade Fair. She tells us about her entire journey, how she fought the stereotype and laid the foundation for women empowerment.
Boldly faced every situation
Neelima Chaturvedi, a resident of Koriya district of Chhattisgarh, formed her first self-help group in 2001. It was not easy for her. Faced adversities, but she was determined to make her dreams a reality with determination. Neelima came as a ray of hope in the lives of many widows, forced to leave home and poor women
Married at the age of 14
Neelima got married at the age of 14. At that time she was studying in 8th class. Neelima told that her father was a health worker in the rural area. He was often out of station. She had two sisters. So they got married early. After a couple of years of marriage, her husband suffered from mental illness. At the young age of 14, she took over the reins of her in-laws’ house. She lived in in-laws’ house for 10 years. During this time she gave birth to two daughters. Now the responsibility of raising two daughters was on her shoulders. Her mother was an Anganwadi worker. She inspired Neelima to stand on her own feet and got her a job in Anganwadi.
The first self-help group formed in 2001
When she formed her first self-help group in 2001, people used to throw her out of the house. She and her family were abused. Society used to accuse them of luring women. Even after all this, she prioritized work for her future and her daughters and went on her karmic path. Initially 10 women joined her group. She took a loan of 25 thousand under Swarna Jayanti Swarozgar Yojana. She bought a knitting machine for 8 thousand, and wool for 7 thousand. She started sewing and knitting. She and the women of her group used to go to Chhattisgarh state festival with their belongings. When she and her work started getting recognition, the confidence of the people of Neelima’s village increased and people started joining her. Then Neelima did not look back. Her self help group numbers increased from 10 to 15 and 15 to 20 groups.
There are now a total of 900 groups in Bharatpur alone and thousands in the entire Koriya district. Expanding her business, she started buying produce from the farmers. Then the women of the groups would get involved in the process work and would go and sell themselves in the market. They bought a pick-up vehicle for convenience in transit.
The then collector Ritu Sain gave full cooperation
When Neelima was engaged in the difficult task of connecting women to self-help groups, seeing her efforts, the government also extended a helping hand. In 2010, IAS officer Ritu Sain, who took over as the collector of Korea district, gave full support to women. Neelima tells that Ritu Sain came for her like an angel. Ritu Sain worked on the mission of Clean Korea and Healthy Korea, Literate and Prosperous Korea. Neelima tells that Collector Ritu Sain formed the ‘Korea Women’s Home Industry’ organization by tying the women of 15 thousand self-help groups of Korea district in a garland like pearls. Neelima was given the reins of the post of the president of this organization.
Organization’s women are each other’s strength
Today thousands of women are associated with this organization. A move by Neelima Chaturvedi gave an opportunity to the women of her area to stand on their own feet. Many widows, divorced, poor and tribal women were empowered by joining his organization. Neelima tells that all the women in the organization are each other’s strength.
They stand by each other in good and bad times. Neelima says that the women of Korea district who were earlier dependent on someone else for their livelihood, today they are standing on their own feet and are equal partners in running the household.
How is Neelima related to farmers?
Today their products are sold in the market under the brand ‘Korea’. Many crops including paddy, wheat, gram, urad, linseed, potato, rye, mustard, maize are bought from farmers. Korea Turmeric, Korea Pickle, Korea Masala, Korea Badi, Papad, Chilli Powder, Cumin Powder, Murmura, Atta, Besan, all kinds of products are made under ‘Korea’ brand. They also prepare vermi compost.
Honoured with many awards
Awarded ‘Mini Mata Samman’ by President Pranab Mukherjee, ‘Women Entrepreneurship Award’ by Smriti Irani, ‘Veerangana Samman’, ‘Women Transforming India Award’ by NITI Aayog.
Contact us: If farmers want to share information or experiences related to farming with us, then they can do this by calling us on the phone number 9599273766 or by writing an email to [email protected] or by sending your recording. 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.