In the Mica belt of Jharkhand, India, most of the families are dependent on Mica scraps for their livelihood. The whole family including children work in these mines as a means to ensure their survival. . This leads to children dropping out of school and helping their parents in extracting mica.
As part of Children of India’s and TdH-NL’s Mica project to eradicate child labour in the mica industry (Koderma and Giridih, Jharkhand), we provide these families access to a community revolving fund which they further invest in additional income generation activities such as agriculture, goat rearing, tailoring and so on. We provide them with the necessary support and capacity building to carry out these activities. This helps increase their family income and in turn, takes children out of the mines and brings them back in school.
But most of the families lost their jobs in Mica Mines during the pandemic. It became a challenge for families to keep their financial wheel turning during the lockdown situation.
The IGA became the primary source of income for some families during the pandemic. Local Self Help Groups maintain a revolving fund that they contribute which aids them in times of need.
The vulnerable and exploited families used a certain amount of money to invest in Agriculture, Tailoring, Goat rearing, etc.
Agricultural Activities: The vulnerable families were given Rs. 10,000 to Rs.20,000 depending on the size of the land they own. They cultivated tomatoes, onion, green vegetables, pulses, seasonal produce, etc. Under the guidance of relevant government department officials, they were able to grow extra produce which they sold in the local market and earn furthermore income and they put an end to working in Mica Mines.
Tailoring: The families were offered Rs.10,000 to Rs.15,000 to buy a sewing machine. They can stitch clothes and sell them to earn add-on income so that the children can continue their education.
Goat Rearing: We provided Rs. 20,000 to the family to purchase a goat and rear it. They can sell the young goats and earn supplemental income, which is more than what they were earning while working in Mica mines.
Self Helping Groups (SHG) revolving funds: As the name says, these groups are created by TdH and its partner organizations to help the women in the community/ group in the time of need. The Revolving Fund is set up by TdH, the Organization offers Rs.2,00,000 to a community of women to circulate amongst themselves. The members contribute Rs. 300 per month to the fund to raise more money. The SHG has regular meetings and discusses the problems among the community members.
By Nivedita Kaskar, Communications Associate