Rekha Devi from Baldi Kheda village in Lucknow District in Uttar Pradesh has had a hard life. She and her husband have been landless labourers struggling to make ends meet. Work is intermittent, lowly paid and hardly enough to cover expenses. Her son is physically challenged, married and unfortunately their child too has physical complications. Asking neighbours for money or taking advances from the SHG she is a part of has been a recurring refrain of her life.

When there was little hope of things improving in her life, a ray of light emerged when Mamta Didi from CARE India arrived at their door telling her that she can start a goatery business. Mamta provided all the information, filled up the necessary forms and gave her three small goats to kickstart her business.

CARE India with the support of MARS provided this once in a lifetime opportunity for poor and marginalised women to climb out of extreme poverty and have a sustainable source of income.

Mamta Didi organised a 4- day residential training programme for us in Lucknow with GOAT TRUST with all expenses paid to learn how to look after the goats, what to feed them, what medicines to give etc so that the goats grow up nice and healthy and can give babies which add to the existing numbers. A lot of women in the village went for the training,” said Rekha Devi

As part of the training, the women were taught how to run and grow the business of goat rearing, what pitfalls to look out for and which opportunities to seize. This offsite training in Lucknow was followed by another training session in the village which reiterated the business aspect and also provided inputs around building their agency and improving gender equity within the household.

Rekha Devi further shared “From three goats I already have five today and one of them is pregnant. I may sell one of them in the near future- and I have learnt that I must weigh the goat on a weighing scale and then sell to the buyer who comes to our doorstep, so that I am not cheated. At Rs 500 a kilo, I hope to make at Rs 18000-20000 from the sale”

Rekha Devi and her husband today spend more time on goat rearing and grazing than working as a mazdoor. They are confident that with the number of goats increasing to 12-15, and selling a goat every quarter, a lot of their troubles and worries will be behind them.

About the Programme: Mint farmers in India produce 80% of the world’s supply of mint and rely on the crop to provide household liquidity. In Uttar Pradesh, women mint farmers largely engaged in subsistence farming face a variety of socio-economic challenges, such as gender inequality, food insecurity, and financial illiteracy. In addition, these women mint farmers have also been affected significantly due to COVID-19. MARS has partnered with CARE India with the Shubh Mint project to support 4,755 women to overcome these challenges which improves their overall quality of life.

Posted by: Vandana Mishra
Location: Baldi Kheda village, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
For more: https://youtu.be/YhsCB9tOJu0