In the Patna District of Bihar 75% of the population lives below the $1.25 a day poverty line. A large percentage of young people are involved in unskilled labour and have no opportunity to get good schooling or otherwise make progress in life. On top of this, low literacy rates, large family sizes and deeply rooted gender inequality contribute to a scenario that traps people in poverty. Often the only way out in Bihar is to take loans with crippling interest rates, driving individuals further into poverty and keeps them there,
The Bureau of Rural Economical & Agricultural Development (BREAD) is helping 240 people belonging to the most socially excluded caste of Indian society gain useful and productive skills, including embroidery, beautician training, applique and motor winding, which will boost their incomes considerably and help them break the cycles of poverty. BREAD will help its beneficiaries in finding markets for products and ultimately support the finding of jobs.
Incomes will be at least doubled, in some cases tripled. A daily wage for the poor targeted by BREAD is about £0.74; depending on which skill they learn, this income can increase to between £1.45 and £2.17 a day. The immediate impact of this includes affordable health care, education and freedom from loan lenders, but the long term impacts are equally important. The socio-economic status of the community is increased by the entrepreneurship of individuals, and a caste of Indian society which is traditionally viewed as the poorest, weakest and most destitute will be proving those perspectives wrong and empowered thereby.
The Knock-on Effect
BREAD will charge the embroidery and applique trainees 2% of their income over the course of a year. The rest of the beneficiaries, and only those that can afford it, will pay 100 INR a month (about £1.02) towards supporting and helping new people join the project. Individuals who have benefitted from BREADS long history of similar work are encouraged to come and speak to current beneficiaries, to inspire and motivate them on the purpose of the project. These endeavours aim ultimately to raise the profile of the project, and ensure that BREAD can continue to run repeat projects in the future.