Women in rural India are key agents for development and play a crucial role towards environmental and social change. But limited access to finances, health care and education are among the many challenges they face. These can be made even more severe by the speed at which India is changing. The increasingly unpredictable climate that is having an effect on crops. And the migration of a lot of the men from their rural family life to urban areas in the hope of creating a better life for themselves and their family. But as a result leaving a lot of the women and the situation they are in, in limbo. Empowering them is therefor not only essential for the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also for overall economic productivity, given at the end women’s large presence in the field and the agricultural economy. Mount Valley Association, a small ngo active in Bhilangna valley of Tehri Garhwal district is doing just that. The ngo its main focus is towards improving the quality of life for rural people by promoting livelihood initiatives along with early child care and girl child education. The association organizes women, youths, and children to form different community-based organizations to link with different government schemes such as bank linkages, employment and livelihood schemes. It advocates for effective governance by empowering women to take active participation in local self-governance.
Through Mount Valley local women are for instance able to sign up for having the milk of their buffalo tested. Once their milk gets the seal of approval the ngo will every morning collect the milk to have it processed. Giving the families an extra income and creating a more financially and viable stable environment. Results are evident and is having a knock on effect on the community as a whole. Women feel empowered and are taking up leading roles within the community.
By teaching women sewing bags and handbags, by collecting buffalo milk and spices they provide the women with an extra income that makes them more independent from their husbands. Who from tradition tend to control the family finances but sadly also can have a habit of spending this preciously hard earned cash on alcohol or gambling. On top of that a lot of the men have left their life in the Himalayas behind for an urban lifestyle in the hope of creating a better future themselves and their family. Leaving it up to the women