Shri Nityanad Education Trust, Nimboli, India started this project in May 2019. The main goal behind this project is to provide a “financial critical mass” to socially, financially backwards” tribal people to help them out of poverty. This concept was first introduced to us by Mr. David Haley and Mr. Vaibhav Kalingada.
Vaibhav belongs to a socially "backward' tribal cast. He struggled hard for a superior education and miraculously, for an impoverished tribal boy, completed his graduation in engineering. Now he is a three language, literate person who has lifted himself out of poverty with the help of a few compassionate mentors. Fueled by Vaibhav’s painful experiences of poverty living, we decided to research a way to bring the rest of his people out of poverty. Please consider the following challenges to tribal people’s escape from poverty:
1} The main culture largely considers them to be lesser humans, they are officially labeled as backwards people belonging to various backwards classes.
Please imagine how hard it is to make financial headway in a culture that treats and prejudicially knows you as “backwards.” You are then denied entry to rewarding enterprises in the System. Our experience is that if the tribals go to the cities to find jobs for income, the only avenues they find is jobs for “backwards people” which means they get jobs for very little income and often brutally hard jobs at that. So, we decided that we must find them a way to get increased substantial income without having to leave their village homes.
We noticed that tribal people have tenaciously held on to the practice of mainly planting rice and a few other vegetables to achieve a subsistence living, and they are resistant to change from this age-old method.
OK we settled upon a way to help them reach to a much higher income using mainly the method they know best, farming.
Farming? if it hasn’t worked well for them in the past, why will it work now? Here are some of the reasons:
1) The biggest reason it is difficult to escape from poverty is that you are poor, and have no asset that allows you to climb up to financial security. No money, no valuables, many unfulfilled responsibilities such as education for the children, depressed mental and emotional affects, and the pain of always not having enough.....very discouraging. We decided we must give them a big asset. An asset big enough to lift them out of poverty for a long-time span. A living asset that produces for years and years and uses their farming skills, so they don’t have to remake themselves to achieve success.
2) Well of course we decided we should help them become “Food and Money Giving” Tree-Plantation people. Yes, they should receive enough trees to quickly lift them into a level of wealth beyond poverty. Such an asset that boosts their morale and sense of self-worth (up to 50 trees). Such asset will lift them out of the stigma of being “backwards people” into a sense of being “forwards people.” The best part of this plan is that the people will not have to go to the city where they are treated badly, and often wind up even more impoverished in sordid circumstances devoid of their beloved Nature environment. They will be encouraged as they stand up out of poverty by their own efforts and by the grace of Natures food giving trees. We are reminding them they are Nature people and they are more loyally ecologically correct than most people on this planet.
3) As they are taken advantage of at the markets and are shy of interaction with mainstream people, we will help them connect to markets where they are given a fair price. They will not be abused by greedy middlemen who steal their profit.
As the families gain 5 or 10 times as much income and expand their plantations, they will begin having disposable income they can use to buy other income producing assets like small tractors, solar dyers, added value making devices, and other high value food producing trees such as mango and Indian blackberry trees, etc..
These people have been suffering through extreme poverty for generations. Nowadays they are putting efforts to earn some money and enhance their lifestyle. It is not easy because technology has reached new heights, but farming is one of the most neglected sectors in India. Most of the "backward people" are farmers and laborers. They are somehow surviving with an unsafe and low-quality lifestyle. Even technology has badly affected their traditional Nature-mind and now they are in a confused state about what to follow and do.
As per my (Vaibhav) experience, poor people think only in two ways to bring themselves out of poverty. Either they have tried to use whatever they have (farm, workmanship, natural resources from jungle and their small savings) or get a job somewhere. As we already mentioned Indian social situations are not allowing anyone to easily change their financial status, either by hard work or smart work.
Here, our deepest wish is to help these people by considering all the social, financial possibilities and their own insecurities. We have come to the point that we should provide them a ‘critical mass boost’ in terms of mango, papaya and moringa plantations.
If you have the ability and generous heart to participate with us in this splendid project to help our Tribal peoples, please click below to donate and enjoy following the progress of this wonderful, very compassionate, very human endeavor. . We love and care about our tribal people. Thanks for your attention and participation.
Dewa (David) Haley Project Director
Vaibhav Kalingada Project Coordinator
Shri Nityanand Education Trust, Farmer Education Team