Leela Devi manages food stuffs as a project management committee member during a training program of self help group members. 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. 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 devi enjoys tea with Laxmi Kisku (a project management committee  member of Bhartiya self help group) during a committee meeting. Leela enjoys tea with Laxmi Kisku (a project management committee member of Bhartiya self help group) during a committee meeting.

Author

Casey Neese