Babita Devi: Becoming Self Reliant through Kitchen Garden

Babita Devi: Becoming Self Reliant through Kitchen Garden

Faced with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Babita Devi found ways to make ends meet. When the economic situation of the family, especially their nutritional requirements, was in trouble she took matters into her own hands and learned to become self-reliant by cultivating vegetables on her land.

Thirty-two-year-old Babita Devi lives in Karim Chaki Balu village in the Harnaut block of Nalanda, Bihar. She has two sons and two daughters. Her husband Krishna Murari is a motorcycle mechanic, and his was the main source of income for the family. During the lockdown, his work suffered adversely affecting the family’s economic situation.

Babita Devi’s family was fully dependent on the market for their vegetables and other consumable items. At the same time, they had a small patch of land that was lying fallow.

In September 2020, Oxfam India and HDFC launched Project Utthan – a Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) in 15 villages of Nalanda. The project socially and economically empowered people from vulnerable communities, especially women farmers. Project Utthan also helped improve access to essential services, with a focus on women and children.

After looking into the socio-economic conditions of Babita Devi’s family, Project Utthan supported them by helping her to develop a kitchen garden. Babita Devi was provided with training in various forms of kitchen gardening, its design and layout, and taught the significance of the produce for nutrition and livelihood. She was also supported with seed kits for the Kharif season and accessible gardening tools.

She now utilises her small patch of land to cultivate different types of vegetables. She is now planning to sell the surplus in her local market.

Babita Devi is grateful for Oxfam’s HRDP intervention in her village. She has managed to save around 1000 rupees per month, which was earlier spent on purchasing vegetables. She is confident her savings will help her support her husband with his motorcycle workshop.

She has pledged to continue farming and will also increase vegetable cultivation by leasing more land. As an even more heartening outcome of Project Utthan, Babita Devi is also supporting and motivating other women in her village to follow her lead and become self-reliant.

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