Proud to be Standing On Her Own: A Success Story
GROW Week took place between October 14-18, 2013.
Navamany had the drive to overcome resistance from her husband and family to show that women can be farmers, too.
“My husband did farming and my job was to make him meals,” says the 44-year-old mother of five. “I also wanted to do paddy cultivation, but he did not allow me.”
Navamany’s life of poverty changed when she joined the Vipulananda Self-Help Group. It was one of 60 village livelihood groups established to help hundreds of women start profitable activities through the 2007-2010 Ampara Integrated Rehabilitation and Development Program. Ampara is an area of East Sri Lanka that was devastated by a tsunami in 2004.
Members received training in organic farming, ledger keeping and leadership. Navamany was not interested in home gardening. She wanted to be a paddy farmer.
“Other groups didn’t do paddy cultivation, they did home gardening. But I had the guts and the drive, so I took it up. I tied my sarong up to my knees and got into the paddy field and worked with a shovel.”
‘I have shown that women also can do farming.’
Slowly, other members joined her and came to her for advice and seeds, but she still had to overcome resistance from her husband and family. After witnessing her success, they started to come around.
“My husband used to have control over me. Now we have two incomes. Earlier I depended on him. I can stand on my own legs now. I have shown that women also can do farming. I am able to make decisions on my own.
Thanks to Navamany for telling the story of how her life improved as a result of the support of Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec and the Canadian International Development Agency with Sarvodaya and other Sri Lankan partners in the 2007-2010 Ampara Integrated Rehabilitation and Development Program.