(News) Bundelkhand: "Apni Haat" Gets Support of Japanese Funding Agency
Bundelkhand "Apni Haat" Gets Support of Japanese Funding Agency
Every Friday, 12-year-old Rajesh hitches a ride to the neighbouring Gorkha village. Armed with a can of spiced water and a giant packet of `paani puri', he is among the first to set up shop at Gorkha's 'Apni Haat'. Within an hour of conducting brisk business, Rajesh recovers his entire input cost.
It is much the same for 75-year-old Jagdisiya, selling locally made jaggery, or Saroja devi, who sells spices at the market.
For years, farmers and local residents waited in the hope that the government would come to their aide. With that hope remaining a distant dream, residents of poverty-stricken Bundelkhand devised ways to help themselves. Now, their small experiment has not only proved to be successful, but has emerged as a successful business model, one that Japanese funding agency, JICA, has pledged support to.
The initial idea was floated in Mahoba's Bagraun village. Here, the unemployment rate was soaring; and the numbers of villagers migrating to cities to become daily wage labourers was even higher. The few that remained spent their time gambling and lived in abject poverty.