Lodha Tribal women and their families in the Island villages in West Bengal are living below the poverty line, with Beneficiaries are women and their children belong to indigenous tribal, below poverty line families. The average annual income is only Rs.9000 (~£96) for an average family size of 6. They rely on hunting as their source of food and crab-catching as their main livelihood. They are not skilled in agriculture. Due to their low income they are often unable to access education or health care facilities for their children, and many children are engaged in domestic work or in supporting the family through helping with fishing.
Tzedek is working with long-standing partner DA to train 200 of these tribal women across two years in livestock rearing. Through seed funding, the women are given either 2 goats, 3 pigs or 40 chickens. Local experts provide 1 month of training to the women in either goat-rearing, pig-rearing or poultry rearing so that the women can go onto rear their own livestock, providing them with income generating opportunities and increased food security. They are also linked to government schemes to further strengthen their income generating activities.
Tzedek has funded this project for two years, at a cost of £7080. 100 women will be trained each year, 25 in goat-rearing, 25 in pig-rearing and 50 in poultry rearing. Providing women with the skills and resources to rear livestock for themselves is expected to increase their income from 750 rupees per month (~£8.00) to up to 3000 rupees per month (£3000) – an increase of 400%. Not only does this lower poverty levels in the community and increase food security, economic independence empowers the women and improves their self-confidence. Increased income is also likely to increase the ability to meet their children’s educational and health needs.
The project is also sustainable. Some of the offspring will be given to new beneficiaries to allow them to start developing their capacity and income-generating activities with the aim of improving the lives of the whole community in the long term.