It was the most wonderful and uplifting experience being with these women. They are illiterate, they never went to school or if they did it was only for a year or two. And yet these women are incredibly knowledgeable about agriculture and have natural business ability.
I can’t really give much more away as I’m committed to writing a piece in Farming Life about these women and how they farm. But I will say that that the success of these farmers is down to their own ability and attitude to make things work and also down to our partner, Deccan Development Society, which through the support of Christian Aid, helped get these farming businesses started.
I would love to invite some of these women to visit us to see how we farm and to share their knowledge. I guess one of the big surprises from this trip is realising that there is so much we can learn from people here in terms of their ability to work together to solve their problems and to secure their own livelihood.
If I had visited these farmers at the start of my trip I would have thought they were extremely poor. Now having seen how other communities live, I can see that they are prospering. They have built sturdier, more weather resistant houses, they have enough food to eat and they are happy being their own bosses. They don’t have much in terms of material possessions but what they do have is a sense of pride, self respect and confidence in their own abilities and that’s not something money can buy.