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Shobha Devi cleans rice with two of her children Mannu (left), 7 and Sandhya, 5.
at home in their mud and thatch house.

Shobha Devi, age 35, is from the from the ostracized Dalit Chamar caste. Shobha has four children, the eldest of whom - a daughter - is married. Shobha's husband has been working in Mumbai as a seasonal migrant for the past 25 years. He returns home for harvests and during the monsoon to help his family cope with the inevitable flooding that forces them to vacate their home an move to higher ground. The family own one bigha of land (1,300 sq metre) which is not enough to supper their nutritional needs so Shobha Devi - an occassionaly her children - also undertake agricultural labour on other people's land. Shobha is a member of the village SHG (Self Help Group).

Ostracized, largely illiterate, ignored by an indifferent administration, without land adequate to support their families' needs, the Dalit residents of Kharihaniya village regularly suffer from hunger. The land around the village floods every monsoon season, destroying crops and forcing resident to vacate their homes and move to higher land. Without local opportunities for work, many of Kharihaniya's men have migrated, undertaking menial jobs in far off cities including Mumbai and Chennai. Only about 25% of those living in Kharihaniya village receive subsidized food as part of the PDS (Public Distribution System) even thought the circumstances of most would entitle them to such assistance. Intervention by Oxfam partners (Grameen Development Services) led to the establishing of a local SHG (Self Help Group) three years ago. The SHG allows women to save and borrow and invest in their farms while offering an opportunity to discuss problems and share ideas. Unlike the private money lenders that charged interest rates of 10%, women borrowing with an SHG only have to pay 2-3%.

Photo: Tom Pietrasik
Kharihaniya, Marajganj District, Uttar Pradesh. India
February 27th 2011
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©Tom Pietrasik
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Shobha Devi cleans rice with two of her children Mannu (left), 7 and Sandhya, 5.  <br />
at home in their mud and thatch house. <br />
<br />
Shobha Devi, age 35, is from the from the ostracized Dalit Chamar caste. Shobha has four children, the eldest of whom - a daughter - is married. Shobha's husband has been working in Mumbai as a seasonal migrant for the past 25 years. He returns home for harvests and during the monsoon to help his family cope with the inevitable flooding that forces them to vacate their home an move to higher ground. The family own one bigha of land (1,300 sq metre) which is not enough to supper their nutritional needs so Shobha Devi - an occassionaly her children - also undertake agricultural labour on other people's land. Shobha is a member of the village SHG (Self Help Group).<br />
<br />
Ostracized, largely illiterate, ignored by an indifferent administration, without land adequate to support their families' needs, the Dalit residents of Kharihaniya village regularly suffer from hunger. The land around the village floods every monsoon season, destroying crops and forcing resident to vacate their homes and move to higher land. Without local opportunities for work, many of Kharihaniya's men have migrated, undertaking menial jobs in far off cities including Mumbai and Chennai. Only about 25% of those living in Kharihaniya village receive subsidized food as part of the PDS (Public Distribution System) even thought the circumstances of most would entitle them to such assistance. Intervention by Oxfam partners (Grameen Development Services) led to the establishing of a local SHG (Self Help Group) three years ago. The SHG allows women to save and borrow and invest in their farms while offering an opportunity to discuss problems and share ideas. Unlike the private money lenders that charged interest rates of 10%, women borrowing with an SHG only have to pay 2-3%.<br />
<br />
Photo: Tom Pietrasik<br />
Kharihaniya, Marajganj District, Uttar Pradesh. India<br />
February 27th 2011