Empowering the underprivileged

People in Ghamroj, a village in Sohna, Gurgaon, are quite  a busy lot these days. What is keeping them engaged are lessons in poultry farming and mushroom cultivation by the students of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS).

It’s been about six months now and the students have been working along with the farmers to train them in income generating activities and helping them set up small businesses. 

“Eighty per cent of the people at Ghamroj live on a daily income of less than Rs 50, far below the sustenance requirement. Through are ‘Grammodhar’ project we are aiming to train these villagers in vocational, practical and social skills that could help them find and maintain local employment,” says Leuuba Chopra, second year student of SSCBS,  who is working on this project along with 62 other students of her college.

As a part of their project with Enactus, the team of young business graduates are trying to devise and implement business models that can empower the underprivileged strata of the society, and make them self-sufficient. It is for this reason that the team has collaborated with Keggfarms – one of the oldest poultry breeding organisations, to guide farmers about
poultry-farming.

“Villagers have bred poultry stocks branded ‘Kuroiler’, a high performance scavenger which thrives under harsh rural environments. It is disease resistant and lays five times the number of eggs annually as compared to the indigenous chicken, thereby providing much more edible meat. If villagers are engaged in poultry then can get an easy way of sustainability. For this we are trying to engage women and make them self-reliant,” says Leuuba.

The team is also creating awareness about mushroom cultivation. “We have taken up mushroom cultivation because it reuses waste like vegetable scrap, husk and manure. Secondly, these are readily available in village. Also, considering the market, the demand for button and oyster mushrooms is high.  It will improve the financial condition of the villagers,” says Leuuba.

Interestingly, students are not handling the project alone as they taking assistance from experts in the field of agriculture and horticulture. “For mushroom cultivation we are taking help from trained professionals by the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Payal Mago and RK Sharma of India Agriculture Research Institute (IARI),” informs Aarushi Sharma, third-year student and executive of the project.
 
“Besides training from experts we are supplying required raw material to the farmers. Thereafter, we help them identify and connect with the right sales channels to ensure sustainable profit,” says she.

Laying emphasis on the need for intervention, Aarushi says, “Available government services are not sufficient to provide necessary support to vulnerable families.”

“Owing to the economic crisis, the number of unemployed and working poor has increased, and many people are turning to labour migration to provide financial benefits for their families. Through this initiative we are making an effort to promote rural
development.”

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