Leela Devi manages food stuffs as a project management committee member during a training program of self help group members.
Story by Avni Malhotra
When we last brought you an update about Leela Devi (age 37) and her family in Simariya Village, India, we saw that with Heifer International’s help their income had increased and they were beginning to dream of living in a concrete house. But when we checked in last month, we learned that their struggle for a better life is not over. Even though there has been an improvement in income from the savings with the Self Help Group, the sale of vegetables from her kitchen garden and the work as a cook for the village school, Leela and Umesh continue their struggle for a better life.
The house they dreamed of completing is stuck due to some disputes in the family. The money they invested stands as bricks and cement that they had bought for the construction. They are now hopeful that they will be able to complete their house after a delay of six months.
Leela Devi poses in front of Bricks she has bought for the construction of a concrete house for her family.
This is a common situation for the people living in an economy where resources are few and claims of rights are numerous. Generations go by before disputes of property are sorted, if at all. The people find it hard to continue the fight as the struggle requires resources of time, energy and money that they can ill afford. Famous epics are written around such family disputes — Mahabharata being the most famous one.
We hope that Leela’s family will soon have the security of a concrete house and move out of the bamboo and mud house they have been living in.
Leela enjoys tea with Laxmi Kisku (a project management committee member of Bhartiya self help group) during a committee meeting.
Leela Devi poses with her two sons Luv and Kush
In Simariya Village, Leela still continues to struggle with her life. But with the help of Heifer International India, things have changed. Her family income has gone up and her dream of living in a concrete house is seeing the first rays of hope. With the increase in income, she and her husband have started thinking of building their concrete house in the same yard. They hope to finish is in a years’ time.
In her small yard, Leela has started growing vegetables from the different seeds she received, and she is also growing fodder for her animals. As they struggle along, Leela and her family live with hope and a very positive attitude as she continues as an active member of her family, group and community.
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Our colleagues in the field have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read read the first post about Leela and her family here.
Leela Devi guides project management committee members on poultry farm structure
Leela Devi poses with her two goats she received from Heifer International