Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation’s work in the field of rural upliftment is commendable. Making efforts to improve the life of marginalized communities in India, the foundation strives at encouraging them to be self-sufficient.
One success story which depicts how rural lives can be truly transformed is that of Magan Bai.
Magan Bai’s story
A resident of Bhanpura village in Madhya Pradesh, Magan Bai was widowed eight years ago. Her alcoholic husband squandered the property, selling off most of the land, leaving behind barely one acre. Her two sons, also alcoholics, did not offer much support. In order to provide for herself, she ended up mortgaging over 80% of the remaining land.
Having mortgaged most of her land, Magan Bai was left with only 0.2 acres. The harvest she acquired in 2011-12 was a meager 2 quintals of soybean. The lack of proper irrigation facilities, worsening soil health, and low capital investment were largely to blame for the conditions. Besides, the total annual income of her family was only Rs. 24,000.
Help from Bharat India Jodo (BIJ)
Reliance Foundation (RF) works towards bridging the gap between urban India and rural India, and its Bharat India Jodo (BIJ) project does exactly this. It is aimed at creating sustainable practices and enhancing the overall lifestyle of people in rural India.
This flagship program operates on three primary principles which are direct action, sustainable development, and a participatory approach.
RF’s BIJ program helped Magan Bai transform her entire life, and become a self-sufficient farmer.
Thanks to the Village Association (VA) set up in Bhanpura by Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation, Magan Bai was able to pay off her debt of Rs. 20,000 and reacquire ownership of her one acre of land in 2013. Both the VA and the RF team helped her cultivate the land, and boost its fertility.
They also helped her construct a pond on the farm which would make optimum use of water, avoiding wastage. For the first time, she could reap two harvests, thereby earning Rs. 58,000 in the first year itself, which enabled her to repay all her debts.
Magan Bai went from depending on her two sons’ incomes to becoming the decision maker of the family. Not only is she a successful farmer now, but also an entrepreneur because of her participation in an orange orchard development program.
When asked about her progress, she stated that, she had never thought she would be able to cultivate her farm in such a way. Reliance Foundation made a massive impact on her life, and their support changed her life for the better.
Reliance Foundation’s BIJ program enabled Magan Bai to transform her life; enabling her to become a successful farmer and entrepreneur.