Somi Bai, from village Gordhanpura of Bali Block, Pali District, Rajasthan, supports her family with goat rearing.Her husband, their five children and her father-in-law depend primarily on Somi Bai’s enterprise, which began when she got married and brought three goats to her husband’s home.
After a couple of years, the number of goats and bucks she reared increased. But, with success came disaster as well. Suddenly, her goats started falling ill and dying, which was a huge setback for her.
At the same time, Somi Bai joined a Samli Bor, a self-help-group. Here is where she met a fellow member, who was a Pashu Sakhi (fondly called ‘doctors’ by the community). The Centre for Microfinance (CmF), an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts, trains village women to be Pashu Sakhi under its livelihoods programme. They undergo various training exercises and exposure, equipping themselves with skills in preventive animal health care and animal management practices. They further get on-field support from paravets, community livestock facilitators, livestock assistants and doctors associated with the programme.
Somi Bai received support and guidance from a Pashu Sakhi on adoption of improved animal management practices on a day-to-day basis, along with support from the Community Livestock Facilitator (CLF). Moreover, she was helped in the construction of a goat shed under the MGNREGA project. She recalls, “All of this led to several benefits. I was able to deal with the day-to-day problems faced in goat rearing and the spreading of seasonal diseases has been contained, especially with the goats and bucks living in a hygienic and protected environment. The Pashu Sakhi and CLF help with regular vaccination and deworming. I have sought immediate help and treatment whenever my livestock fell ill.” She also benefitted from getting a fair price when selling the goats by weight, a practice promoted as a part of the programme.
Somi Bai now has 39 goats and draws in an annual income of Rs30,000 to 35,000 from goat rearing itself. Having repaid all her debts, she has also initiated farming, sent her children to school and built a pucca house for her family. As a bread-winner, she, like many other entrepreneur women, has found her voice in her family and the community!
This story has been taken from the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Allied Trusts Annual Report 2019-20