'RF BIJ initiative turned Magan Bai, 58, from a destitute woman into an independent decision-maker'
Magan Bai, Agar, M.P
- Magan Bai (58) of village Bhanpura of Agar Cluster was struggling for survival. Widowed eight years back, she has two sons. She once owned five acres of un-irrigated land, most of which her alcoholic husband had sold off, leaving her behind with barely one acre. To worsen her woes, she has also ended up mortgaging 80% of this land to meet her basic needs. Her sons, 33 and 28, are alcoholics too, and unmarried. After her husband's death, she has been cultivating barely 0.2 acres of land. In 2011-12, her land yielded only 2 quintals of soybean. With some labour work thrown in, the total annual income of the family was barely INR 24,000. Rain-fed farming, lack of water for irrigation, deteriorating soil health and low capital investment were contributors to this nightmarish existence.
- Magan Bai wanted to take charge of her destiny and improve the conditions to lead a better life, but she could not find a way to do so. A ray of hope emerged when she joined the VA set up by RF BIJ in her village. With all that she had, she was able to revoke the mortgage by paying off her debt of INR 20,000 and brought the entire one acre under cultivation for the first time in 2013. The VA and the RF team supported her in carrying out the development activities on the land to make it fertile. A farm pond was also constructed to conserve water to be used for irrigation of the land. As a result, her farm yielded two crops for the first time! Magan Bai earned INR 58,000 in the first year itself that enabled her to pay off all her debts.
- With a little support from RF BIJ, she was able to turn the wheels of her destiny. She is no more a poor lady depending on her sons’ income, but a decision maker of her family who had the capability to win over worst situations. She is now a confident farmer who is constantly exploring ways to increase the yield from her farm. She has even ventured into developing an orchard of 200 Orange plants on her land. Magan Bai’s transformation is aptly captured in her words, "Maine kabhi nahi socha tha ki is prakar kheti kar paoongi par thodi si himmat aur Reliance Foundation ke sahyog ne sab kuch badal diya! (I never thought I could ever cultivate my farm this way but a little will power and support from Reliance Foundation has changed everything!).”