‘Maa Thota’ kindles hopes in them

P. Sujatha Varma
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I want to buy goats and sheep with the money being distributed, says a beneficiary

Tribal women wait for their turn to collect financial assistance in Krishnaraopalem.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar
Tribal women wait for their turn to collect financial assistance in Krishnaraopalem.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Her big white bangles almost covered her hands up to the arms. Unlike other Lambada women draped in sarees, Lavuri Chilikamma and her distant cousin were clad in a traditional colourful Lambada phetiya (ghagra) and kanchalli (top). Using mirror chips to enhance the beauty of their clothing, the two Lambada women wore ornaments made up of silver rings, coins and chains.

Their hair pleats were tied together at the end by a ‘chotla’ and the lower end of their nose ring touched their lips.

“I am eagerly waiting for the financial assistance being distributed here. I want to buy goats and sheep, rear them and when they grow up sell them for a good price in the local market. Hopefully, this money will help me supplement the meagre household income,” says Chilikamma.

She was one of the 100 beneficiaries identified from four villages – A. Konduru, Cheemalapadu, Krishnaraopalem, and Kummarikuntla in A. Konduru mandal of Krishna district, for ‘Maa Thota’ project funded by NABARD under ‘Tribal Development Fund’ programme.

“Maa Thota” aims at uplifting the tribal communities leading peripheral lives in thandas (hamlets) sprinkled across this region. While some of them still follow a nomadic lifestyle, others settled in small thandas are deprived of basic amenities.

“Life has always been harsh to us. We barely own anything in terms of land or property. We move as well as live in groups. We are very different from people like you in plains,” she says.

“We are hardworking and sincere and we largely depend on nature to fulfil our needs. Our men folk, of late, are finding odd jobs for a living. As husband and wife, we equally share the work,” says Chilikamma. “Maa Thota’ project is all about teaching tribal farmers how to invest less and gain more farm output by minimising losses. Those who do not own lands, are given cash to buy either goats and sheep or material to make baskets that can be sold to earn money. The idea of buying sheep and goats excited Chilikamma who already has her plans in place.



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