This woman from Jharkhand changes financial game for many in her village
The woman from Jharkhand has brought together over 2,000 women from 120 villages and helped them become financially independent.
Published: 05th March 2023 08:44 AM | Last Updated: 05th March 2023 08:44 AM | A+A A-
JHARKHAND: Deserted by her husband and threatened by Maoists, 35-year-old Akli Tudu’s life is nothing short of a superhero film. Living in the Maoist hotbed of Gudabandha in the East Singhbum district of Jharkhand, Akli, a Class 6 drop-out had learned to make bamboo baskets from her mother before she was married to her husband in Musabani, 10km from her village.
After being deserted by her husband, she moved back in with her parents before venturing out on her own. Ever since she has integrated over 2,000 women from 120 villages and helped them be financially independent. Akli, has also been at the forefront in getting nearly 100 ponds constructed and over 1,159 ponds revived by lending technical know-how to the farmers and empowering village women by involving them in the tasks.
Recipient of several awards, including the Social Award, Women Entrepreneur Farmer Award, Water Champion Award and Best EPC Award from NABARD, Akli says, “In 2012, the Tagore Society had come into my village to constitute self-help groups. I joined the society and later they ventured into irrigation due to water scarcity and its effects of it on farmers.
Leading one such group, I asked the societies working in the region to help farmers with the irrigational facilities as they were suffering due to water scarcity,” said Akli. CINI and Tata Steel Foundation came forward and approved the fund for digging of ponds but there was a catch. They could only disburse the funds to a registered society.”
“Therefore, I registered a trust — Jumit Tirla Ganwta (Ekta Mahila Samiti) on November 11, 2014. “On my first project, I was given life threats by Maoists. Posters were stuck in my name with a demand of levy or I will be killed,” she added. People then were also averse to women venturing into agriculture.
“But, nothing happened, and now, I am here with a total of 2,004 women who have been earning up to 25000 per month,” said Akli.
Besides seven officer bearers working in her trust, 1,152 farmers are also engaged in farming of fish, duck, vegetable and fruit farming. “As of now, I have dug up as many as 93 ponds in and around my block Dhalbhumgarh, where I live on rent. I have also revived as many as 1,500 unused ponds owned by the farmers by connecting them with different schemes and providing technical know-how in different kinds of farming,” said Akli.
A local Harishankar Tudu said that Akli single-handedly took on the Maoists for the sake of making village women financially independent. It is because of her that there is prosperity in many of the households in the region, he said.
Akli is also the chairperson of APC Gharanj Lahanti Mahila Utpadak Producer Limited Company, last year had a total turnover of 1.7 crore, with a profit of 6.5 lakh. The profit is distributed among the women according to their contribution; on average, women are earning nearly 15,000 per month.
Chumki Pradhan, one of the seven on the board of directors of the limited company, purchases farmers’ produce in bulk and sells them in the market in Jamshedpur, Ranchi. “I joined the company in 2020 and earning my livelihood from it since then. We also have three nurseries for producing seeds and manures which are provided to the farmers at an affordable rate. We are getting our share as per the profit of the company,” said Chumki Pradhan.
“Akli Tudu’s work has made a positive impact in Gudabandha, which once used to be a Maoist-affected area before she started working on pond based integrated farming system. Since then, the water level has significantly increased in the region,” said Parthsarthi, manager (Agriculture and Community Based Farming), at Tata Steel Foundation, She has also been given Women Exemplar Award by CII for working at the grassroots level.