How Mariyam Devi’s Dairy Initiative Transformed Her from a Village Woman to a Business Owner

Mariyam Devi, 34, is one of the 40,979 community women from Dungarpur district, where we are working in partnership with Rajasthan Government to enhance rural livelihoods. She is a resident of Gadaroda village in Jonthri cluster, Rajasthan, where most people in her village belong to Bhil community and rely on agriculture, livestock and daily wage works for their livelihood. Mariyam also worked at her own small 2.5 bigha farm before joining the SHG in her village, but she couldn’t earn any profit from it. She has a family of five people - two sons, a daughter and a husband, and it was difficult for her to manage the household expenses.

She joined the Kali Bai SHG in her village in 2013 with the hope of saving  small sums of money to raise her three children. In her own words in local vaagdi dialect, “Samuh Thaki ghano faaydo maljyon hain (I am able to avail a lot of benefits through SHG). Upon joining the SHG, Mariyam got to know about the Apna Khet Apna Kaam program, where she could get work under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme. With the help and guidance of our Cluster Program Manager (CPM), she availed the benefits and even participated in various programs in association with Krishi Vigyan Kendra. 

After more than two years of being associated with the SHG, in October 2016, the CLF financed Rs. 48,000 (through VO) to Kali Bai SHG for Mariyam. This amount was sanctioned to her as a loan to start her dairy initiative since she had expressed her wish to start it at an SHG meeting. With our CPM’s guidance, she bought a Murrah Buffalo costing Rs. 58,000, where Rs. 48,000 was financed by the SHG and Rs. 10,000 was self-financed. Apart from her dairy initiative, Mariyam built cattle shed and four pits of vermicompost under Apna Khet Apna Kaam in July 2016.

Thankfully, throughout her association with the SHG, her husband has been very supportive and encouraged her to work and become independent.  In a span of  16 months, Mariyam has earned Rs. 1.4 lakhs through selling vermicompost. Her husband narrates the benefits of using vermicompost in their own dialiect, “Kenchua Khaad thaki kheti karva no faydo ghanv ni chamak par thi j dekahi rahyo he (The difference of using vermicompost is clearly visible by the shine of our wheat crop.)

Letz Dream Foundation (LDF) supported Mariyam in every step of the way, from ensuring quality cattle feed, to timely veterinary services, knowledge about different breeds like Geer and Murrah and finding customers for vermicompost. The CPM helped her in receiving better services from pashu sakhis who helped to train her in cattle management and first aid for them. LDF played a vital role in bringing all activities together to make an integrated model of dairy farming for Mariyam. She has utilised her profits to invest in more livestock - one Murrah with male calf, one Geer cow with female calf, one Holstein cow, one indigenous cow and one buffalo. On an average, Mariyam sells 12 litres of milk per day with which she earns Rs. 9,000-10,000 per month.

Mariyam says that now she is happy and content  with her life  as she is able to provide for her children and also give  them better education. Her elder son is  studying in Udaipur, while the other son and daughter are studying in the village. She and her husband together sell milk to Jains and Kalals of Dungarpur city. They are able to command  higher prices as the quality of  milk is better. From an average villager to a small-scale business owner, Mariyam Devi’s life has changed for the better with LDF support. But she doesn’t plan to stop here! Mariyam also wants to expand to poultry farming in the near future and earn more profits for her children’s education. Her tale is  indeed inspiring for other women in the village.