Notes from the Field- Orissa
Hitesh Bhatt, Rang De’s newest team member, is a part of the Impact team. He just came back from a trip to Orissa where he visited our field partners, Darbar Sahita Sansad (DSS) and Nari and Shishu Kalyan Kendra (NSKS)
Orissa, the land of temples, lakes, rivers and dense forests, is also home to fabulous people and awesome food. This was my first visit to the state and I fell hopelessly in love with it. During the course of five days in the outskirts and villages of Bhubaneshwar, Khurda Road, and Balasore, I got the opportunity to interact with local people, Rang De borrowers and the staff members of our field partners in Orissa. It is often said that people with fewer worldy things are usually generous with their possessions, time and hospitality. I can now confirm that.
In the region I visited most people belonging to the lower economic and social strata of society are dependent on agriculture and allied activities such as cow rearing. This is also true of Rang De’s borrowers. While people own land and have access to formal and informal credit to support their livelihood activities, they are forced to start from scratch due to floods every alternate year. Over time, people have learnt to deal with this natural phenomenon. Recurring floods are the major reason of large scale migration in the region.
At first glance this part of Orissa looks abundantly beautiful with rolling fields and brimming lakes, but for the people situated at the lower rungs the hardships of daily life surpass the beauty of their natural surroundings. Organizations working on providing credit, disaster management, health etc. are doing a great job in making peoples’ lives better. Rang De borrowers that I met acknowledged the impact that low interest credit had made in their lives. Still we, as a pro-people non-government organization, have a long way to go to make poverty history in Orissa.
Rang De Impact:
Jhumo Ray, a widow with four children, is a very hardworking woman. She has taken 3rd Rang De credit of Rs.15,000. She used each microloan to buy a cow and now has three cow. She sells 40 litres of milk per day at the rate of Rs 30 per liter which provides her a steady income now. From having no cows to owning three, she has come a long way and enjoys amenities such as a television at home which she bought from the profit earnings. She is also building her house using concrete. She gives credit to Rang De for such a considerable improvement in her life and wishes for a higher ticket loan as she wants to expand her activity.
You can read a detailed account of Hitesh’s field evaluations here