“In the beginning I was very shy. When the project team came to my house, I would stay inside my room. Now I am the one going around training other people!.” Panmati Hansda, a 25-year old lady from the Beriathol village in Bankura, worked as a wage labourer, far away from her village. “I did not like that job at all. I had to spend days away from my family. Besides, there was no freedom at all, it was almost like slavery”.
After leaving this job, she attended a training on poultry at the Green College. Now she runs a successful poultry business, and has become an expert on animal vaccination, offering her services to other villagers too. She is now the project resource person and trains other farmers on different farming and animal rearing techniques. Her family was also part of the Sustainable Integrated Farming System (SIFS) project, thanks to which their farm became much more productive.
From their increased income, Panmuti and her husband could send Suparna, their youngest daughter, to a hostel in a nearby city. “There she attends a very good school. Of course I am sad when she is not here, but I know she is learning, and this is the most important thing”, adds Panmuti, pride gleaming in her eyes.
Panmati is an ex-trainee of our Rural Skills Development initiative, which focuses on training rural youth from Jharkhand, Orissa and WestBengal on green trades. The courses combine the traditional wisdom of these communities with modern scientific knowledge to help small producers grow into ‘ecopreneurs’ and to have better access to business development skills, technology, finance and market.