Published Sep 9, 2020
Bajaj Foundation has been promoting various community development interventions for betterment of the rural people. These activities are aimed at protection of natural resources, agriculture, social progress and providing livelihood opportunities. An integrated approach to all these activities has led to the reducing of poverty in the villages.
Maina Tai Vasu belongs to a lower-class family in Pimpalgaon, Deoli Block, Wardha, and is a member of Shri. Swami Samartha self-help group. Her husband is suffering from health issues and hence could not share her load in farming. They have been living in a small hut on the farm for the last 15 years. Due to the recurring failure of crops in the past few years, their condition became miserable, and their current financial condition could not support farming. Not just that, because of the poor financial condition, Maina Tai is unable to access proper healthcare facilities too.
Maina Tai was guided and supported by Bajaj Foundation to initiate an income-generating activity for improving her financial condition. She was confident that ‘garam masalas’ (spices) prepared by her would impress consumers. Hence, she began to make spices. Her son Manoj began to sell the masala in not only her village but also those located nearby. As part of a marketing strategy, he used to sell the high-quality products at a comparatively lesser price than what was available in village grocery shops. He was earning Rs. 400 a week through this activity. For further improving the income, Maina Tai thought of selling groundnut laddu, sesame laddu and mixed groundnut-futana (chana) laddu.
Bajaj Foundation further guided them to adopt practices of natural farming for the cultivation of their land. They were also given the required machinery and a stringent business plan.
Today, they are growing onions, chillis and coriander seeds required for their garam masala along with sun hemp, cotton, pigeon pea and vegetables. They sell sharbat of sun hemp flowers, which has medicinal value and protects from sunstroke. They also sell vegetables at the village level.
Their monthly income has increased to Rs. 15,000 and, they plan to reconstruct their house and get access to better medical care. But, above all, the family cherishes their new found happiness.
More than 3,400 needy families like Maina Tai's have received support from Bajaj Foundation to strengthen their livelihoods in Wardha district of Maharashtra.