Happiness is not the absence of problems, it is the ability to deal with them. This is the mantra of 28 year old Somi Devi of Surajpur village in Nalanda, a responsible wife and loving mother of 3 children. Somi’s husband works as a carpenter in Delhi to support his family in Bihar.
It was about 5 years ago that she got associated with CDOT through the micro finance programme. The first loan of Rs.8000 was spent on purchase of cows, rearing and selling of milk. In the meantime, she underwent training on mushroom cultivation organized by Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), which prompted her to take a second loan of Rs. 10,000 to start off mushroom cultivation on her own. With the training and the loan as support, she started her venture, and continued with it by taking a third loan of Rs. 12,000/.
She grows both ‘button’ and ‘flower’ varieties, which fetches her good return by selling them at Rs. 200 and Rs. 100 per kg respectively, giving her a monthly income of Rs. 3000. She has also been financially awarded by ATMA for her exceptional expertise in mushroom cultivation.
Her earnestness and hard efforts are more so as she continues to provide treatment for her 12 year old son who suffers a kidney problem. Medicines being expensive, she saves her profit to meet the medical expenditure as well as the education of the children and other family expenses. Somi is also an active member of the Panchayet, who undertakes survey, makes home visits, and spreads the news of social awareness and government schemes to the people of her community. Under the aegis of CDOT, she is also attending the 5-day monthly training of Community Health Facilitators, funded by Axis Bank. Like Somi, there are many more women, for whom earning no more means only household chores or toiling on farmland or working as daily labours.