The success stories listed below are only a few examples of how Tata Steel has brought about a positive change to the lives of individuals, creating a renewed sense of belief in their own abilities. With the right guidance and support from Tata Steel, today they enjoy a better quality of life and a secured future.
Growing watermelon is becoming popular among women SHGs in villages surrounding Bamnipal, thanks to efforts of Tata Steel
Sitting on his verandah, Ashirwaad Dehury was making pieces of a watermelon for distribution among villagers after offering it to the village goddess. This is an age-old practice to offer the first fruit from the land to the almighty before harvesting any crop. The wife of Asirwaad is one of the 26 SHG members who have cultivated watermelon on about 6 acres in Alutuma village with the support of Tata Steel and CInI (Collectives for Integrated livelihood Initiatives), an NGO, this year. Harvesting has begun and she is reaping it rich like others.
On the foot of a hillock at Baghraisai village of Nadiabhanga Gram Panchayat in Danagadi block of Jajpur district in Odisha, lies two acres of ancestral land of Gunbant Mohanta, where he cultivates paddy. Earlier, the produce was totally dependent on rain. If there was good rain, the yield would be around eight quintals, which was the average produce in the area and nobody complained.
A few years back, when the government scheme of digging deep bore wells was implemented, Gunbant applied for one and got a bore well dug on his two-acre patch. Few other farmers of the 52-family village also applied and got deep bore wells like Gunbant. However, none of the villagers were able to benefit from the government scheme because of lack of proper guidance, skill and support like seeds and fertilisers. The digging of bore wells did not bring any notable change in the farming practices and financial condition of the villagers.
But Gunbant did not lose hope. He knew that some extra effort and support would turn his dream into reality, and at this juncture, TSRDS extended a helping hand to Gunbant.
The first thing TSRDS did was that it sent Gunbant to Krisi Vigyan Kendra, Badchana, for training on SRI (System of Rice Intensification). As paddy was the prime crop, it was imperative to increase its production. Gunbant was guided and supported at every step in the paddy cultivation process. The result was much more than expected – 25.7 quintals from one acre. After the successful paddy cultivation, Gunbant was guided on vegetable farming. He fenced his land with locally available material and grew vegetables.
Expressing his gratitude, he says, “I was directionless till TSRDS extended help. With their support and guidance, I have learnt modern techniques of farming and got many valuable tips. My paddy production has been more than three times and I have got good returns from farming vegetables. Now, people come to me seeking tips on paddy and vegetable farming. I am happy working at my small farm. I just want to nourish it and cherish it.”
The success story of the women self-help group from Pagda village in Bodaam Block of East Singhbhum district, Jharkhand started in 2001 and is rapidly evolving. The group was started with monthly savings of 20 rupees per member for which a savings account was opened. This was the first time these women had saved their hard earned money. Gradually, the group applied for credit through Block Women Empowerment Schemes (by District Rural Development Agency) and Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) supported them in shaping their personal as well as enterprise building capacities. TSRDS boosted their self-motivation to become independent individuals.
With the help of credit funds, the members bought goats from the village market and through proper care and nurturing the population of goats increased. In 2007, the self-help group applied for credit worth Rs. 1,00,000. The members used half the money to purchase more goats and the remaining for vegetable crop cultivation. The credit amount was returned in three years.
Members sell up to three goats every year from which they are able to earn approximate Rs.30, 000. In addition to this, recently, TSRDS helped the group register as a trust. They have named their trust ‘Pagda Basti Mahila Samuh’.
“Through this entity, under the guidance of TSRDS, we have managed to procure as well as supervise watershed work (bunding), pond deepening, and civil work contracts for village infrastructure development and water management, says Malati Sabar, one of the ST members of the group. After 12 long years, lives of these women have changed completely. They have gained a greater control over their resources, increasing their capacity to participate in social activities and household decision making. Also, this enterprise has enhanced food security issues, leveraged education opportunities and diversified their livelihoods.
Twenty five year old Bharat Rajwar who lives in Ichakdih village in Ramgarh, Jharkhand had always been a bright scholar with dreams of pursuing higher education. However, his father had been unemployed for the last few years and poor economic conditions forced Bharat to discontinue studies after Intermediate (senior secondary). To support his family, Bharat started working as a daily wage labourer. On a day when he would be able to get a job, he would toil hard to earn Rs. 100/-, a meagre amount to fulfill the basic needs of his family.
Under such trying circumstances, Bharat learnt about Site Safety Supervisor Training programme run by TSRDS at West Bokaro. Sensing the opportunity, he applied and was selected for the training after a screening test. He completed the training successfully and got employed as a Site Safety Supervisor with M/s Thakur Constructions, a local vendor for civil jobs. Today, Bharat earns Rs. 4500/- per month from his permanent job and has gained confidence to support his family. He has also resumed studies and is presently pursuing a degree course from Ramgarh College. He is happy and satisfied with his job. In fact, he has performed well and is likely to get an increment soon.
Bharat says, “Such vocational trainings organised by TSRDS are the only way to guide and enable young people in rural areas get employment. Every unemployed youth should take advantage of these trainings to be gainfully employed”.
Joba Hansdah is a 21-year-old girl from Baghbeda village who lives with her parents and sibling. She completed her secondary schooling from Baldwin High School, Jamshedpur and continued her studies from Jamshedpur Women’s College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration from Xavier Institute of Technology.
Even though she hails from a humble background, Joba has been a keen observer of the situation of other children in her village and their attitude towards education and school. Education is not given importance or even encouraged in her village. The lives of children follow a pre-set. The girls are married off while the boys begin to handle business once they are of age. Joba considers herself to be very lucky to have parents who encouraged her to study.
She is an ardent learner and is proud to have studied up to graduation level. Being a girl from a simple village, she is fully aware of how big an achievement this is. Her determination and achievements have helped her in becoming eligible for the Jyoti Fellowship. She says that Jyoti Fellowship helps students like her to meet expenses of academic courses that are usually quite expensive. She realises that had it not been for this scholarship, she would never be able to fulfil her dreams of pursuing higher education.
Jamuna Soren, 40 and single, is a resident of Poklabera, a remote village in Patamda block of East Singhbhum district in Jharkhand. Due to poor economic conditions and lack of encouragement at the tender age, Jamuna was deprived of primary education.
It was only after she met Mukta Pramanik, a teacher for the Adult Literacy Programme run by Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) for Poklabera and adjoining areas, Jamuna realised how this would strengthen her capacities and make her functionally literate. She attended classes regularly and was one of the most active and inquisitive learners at Poklabera.
After a few months, Jamuna’s father got to know about a peon vacancy at the nearest branch of a nationalised bank. He encouraged her to apply for the same. With great reluctance she applied. To her surprise she fared well at the interview. One of the interviewers asked her if she knew how to write her name, sign and count, to which she responded in affirmation with great confidence.
Lo and Behold! She was selected for the job. Her joy knew no bounds. Acknowledging the role of TSRDS and Mukta, her teacher, she adds, “I got this job only because of the adult literacy classes I attended. This job means a lot to me as it will provide financial security and above all, an identity”.
Jena Bage and his two brothers had been living in a small single house in their village before displacement. Now they have constructed three separate houses in Trijanga-2 colony with the help of Tata Steel. Jena Bage who was a farmer earlier, has undergone mason training through Prerana Programme started by the Company, and is now working in Tata Steel’s fabrication yard.
Many modern facilities like safe drinking water and electricity that were not available in the villages have been provided for at Trijanga Rehabilitation Colony. Schools and Balbaris have been set up for children while tribal women have been trained in various income generation programmes.