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 and erratic climate that is having an effect on crops. And the migration of a lot of men leaving behind their rural life to urban areas in the hope of creating a better future for themselves and their family. Leaving a lot of the women in limbo. Empowering them is therefor not only essential for the wellbeing of families and rural communities but also for overall economic productivity given women’s large presence in the field and the agricultural economy as a whole. Mount Valley, 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 organises women, youths, and children to form different community-based organisations to link with different government schemes such as banks, 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 able to sign up for having the milk of their buffalo tested. Once their milk gets the seal of approval the ngo will collect every morning the milk to have it processed. Providing the women with an extra income that makes them more independent from their husbands who from tradition tend to control the family finances but also have a habit of spending this hard earned cash on alcohol or gambling. Results are evident and having a knock on effect. Women feel empowered and are taking up leading roles within the community.
Besides collecting milk Mount Valley organises sewing classes teaching women how to sew bags and handbags. Collect spices like turmeric and ginger on behalf of the local people. Hire teachers that provide education to over 500 children under the age of 14. And even trained a local vet as the government hardly provides for vetrinary care.
It is thanks to organisations like Mount Valley the world becomes a better place. And why stories like these should be out there for the rest of the world to know. As they are the ones that make a real difference and truly make the world a better place.