Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Chicken Coop Journey in Modiya

When I came to Gajner in Rajasthan, the previous microfinance intern was about to leave EduCARE. For the past three months, he had been working on finding an agreement with a family in the nearby Muslim community, Modiya, on building a chicken coop. He asked me to take over his project and I was not sure about what to do. I just had gotten to the centre and I had not even met the family interested in the project. I felt I needed more time to decide. Yet, the more we discussed it, the more I was finding the idea of a chicken coop an exciting way to help a woman, not only to empower herself, but to provide food security to a community that has limited access to vegetables and eggs, as well. On these premises, I embarked on this journey with Saira and her family that turned to be a true adventure.

Saira's family and the interns building the chicken coop

It was mid-October when we started to bring materials for Saira, and after three months, we can finally say that the chicken coop is ready. There have been vicissitudes as in every journey, but a few exciting and surprising moments are certainly what I will take home with me. The fact that we are going to buy chickens by the end of the first week of February is extraordinary. However, what really matters to me are the financial literacy lessons Saira and I started back in December. Back then, I discovered that she is illiterate, while until that day I had been told she could read and write. I was still positive though because I realised she can write numbers and she is treasurer of Gajner Self-Help group. It was a great starting point!

Ilaria has been giving financial literacy classes to Saira

Right before Christmas we had a lesson and I gave Saira some homework for the holidays. When I came back in January and I visited her I was pleasantly impressed to see that she did it all and really well too. The surprises did not stop there. Saira showed me her notebook and she is learning to write and read Hindi. I do not know whether studying math together made her want to learn more, but I want to believe that we are truly bringing change in people’s lives doing our small part.

Ilaria Iovieno - Italy
Microfinance Project Manager, Gajner (Rajasthan)

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