Life changes for the women and people of Shafi Mohammed Brohi Village – Hameeda, Noor Nisa and GulBibi
What does providing an alternative source of livelihood to a woman actually achieve? Is it just a source of income? Indus Earth Trust works with the vision of ‘Development with Dignity’ with the firm belief it can be a starting point of overall improvement in a community. The three stories mentioned in this month’s global giving report show how three women in Indus Earth Trust’s Livelihood development programme has the potential to bring about a forward looking change in a community.
Asset: Cow worth USD 300
Beneficiaries: GulBibi – mother , Hameeda – Single mother bringing up 4 children, Noor Nisa – Married with 5 children
Gul Bibi: A alternative source of livelihood reduces the availability of an addictive substance
Who would have thought that a single productive asset- a cow would impact the lives of an entire village. The community of Shafi Mohammed Brohi village, located in the UC Gharo in Sindh Pakistan, suffered from a chronic problem. , More than 90% of the villagers were addicted to Ghutka (betel nut) – a cancer causing substance. This was mainly due to the easy availability of this highly addictive mouth cancer causing substance, which was sold by one of the village inmates, GulBibi. GulBibi’s husband was struggling to make ends meet. She tried to pitch in to the household income by selling small confectionery items from her house, including Ghutka, which was in demand.
One of the conditions of the transfer of the asset of the cow for GulBibi was the stopping the sale of this addictive substance. “I used to make Rs. 100-150, now my savings are 1000 to 1500 a month,” GulBibi informs us. She sells the milk from her cow to the local milk collectors for resale. Her need for additional income is now taken care of by the cow and therefore the Ghutka is no longer part of her entrepreneurial venture.
Hameeda: Restoring a Battered Mother’s Pride
In the same village, Hameeda, a single woman with 4 children declares that her life has changed since she acquired the asset of a cow. Hameeda got married young. He husband was a heroin addict. Her 4 children were born while suffering from constant abuse and hunger due to the fact that her husband did not work.
Her husband finally deserted her and she came to live with her father. Her father had to bear the additional burden of her family of 4 small children. “The cow had a small calf and gave birth to another one. I now have three cows. I sell the milk and give my children milk and Lassi to drink.”
How has life changed for Hameeda? Dressed well, proud and full of life she tells me, she saves 1500-2000 per month. “My son works in a factory nearby and brings home an income.. It is not him I am worried about.He can look after himself.” She confides with pride. “I am educating my daughters and saving up for their marriage. I am no longer dependent on my father. I am my own master.”
Noor Nisa: Visioning a better quality of life.
Her friend Noor Nisa has also benefitted from a cow. “My kids would have tea with out milk, now I can give my 5 children milk to drink.” Noor Nisa also saves 1500 to 2000 a month from her earnings. “We have a Village Organisation of Women in the Village. Hameeda is the president of the organisation. All the women contribute Rs. 50 per month to the common pool.”
“And what will you do with this money?” I ask.
“Indus Earth Trust (IET) has given us solar lights and water pumps so now we have light in our house and in the village square,” Noor Nissa replies.
“We also have running water. We can save up for more development projects. Perhaps IET can build us our houses like they built the village school. We can use this money for our contribution to the development project,
” Hameeda the president of the VO quips in.