Here's how 325 landless women labourers from Ropar district are earning an additional income during this lockdown period.
Due to the current scenario we have seen how this pandemic has affected the whole world especially the lower class of the society. Most migrants and labourers are in panic mode hunting for additional source of income or food to survive. A similar situation was seen in ACF's locations with landless labourers out of jobs due to the nationwide lockdown and farmers' fields closed.
But while most struggled, Sarabjit Kaur from Ropar, Punjab took solace from her humble backyard, which she had previously turned into a kitchen garden. Her husband being the only breadwinner from his small land, Sarabjit had decided to contribute to the family's income by attending a 'Kitchen Garden Training Program' conducted by ACF in her village in 2018.
Initially testing her backyard in a small area in 2019, in February 2020 she decided to increase the area of garden to bear more produce and help her family to sustain through the year. However, it wasn't until the nationwide lockdown that she fully realized the benefits of kitchen gardening. By increasing her area, she was able to grow vegetables worth 200kgs which included lady finger, cucumber, bitter gourd, pumpkin, onion, eggplant and so on.
"As I was able to increase my backyard by acquiring the neighbouring vacant land, I got more produce which helped me to sell the vegetables in the local market three times since I initiated this practice," said Sarabjit excitedly.
To support her in her eagerness to sell in the local markets during the lockdown, ACF helped arrange a pass for her from the Horticulture department and guided her in following stringent precautionary measures while venturing out - helping her to earn over Rs. 9000 from the Ropar market. Today, 4-5 villagers visit her home daily to collect fresh vegetables from her kitchen garden. She has also been able to earn Rs. 3,400 by selling her vegetables in the local village market.
Sarabjit is just one of 325 women who have benefitted by growing fresh vegetables in their backyard with many of them selling their surplus in the local markets to also generate a livelihood.
80% of these women are landless labourers harnessing just a small parcel of land in their backyard to protect their families during the virus by avoiding crowded markets - whilst earning an additional source of income and consuming fresh vegetables to support their own immunity.