आधी बीज एकले
Once there was a lone seed
Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM) has been working since 2017 with women farmers in drought affected regions of the State of Maharashtra. Their advocacy efforts, combined with those of other organisations, resulted in some important decisions of the State Government to provide relief to widows in farmer-suicide affected families and women sugarcane workers. However implementation of these relief measures requires sustained efforts on the ground.
Suicide or death of a husband leaves a rural woman completely at the mercy of an exploitative system that denies her even basic human rights. MAKAAM has been collaborating with local grassroots organisations to develop a network of women leaders who identify affected women and support them through long processes of getting documentation required for inheritance of property, for jobs under MNREGA, access to food rations, widow pensions and education for their children.
This booklet begins with a brief account of the crisis and of the work of MAKAAM during the two years of Covid lockdowns. This is followed by stories of 10 rural women leaders, recounted in their own words. The accounts are at the same time informative, troubling and inspiring. The leaders describe how they themselves have struggled to claim their rights under oppressive conditions and faced by persistent social and bureaucratic hurdles. Through their voices we also hear the stories of other women who they have helped, of the challenges they have endured and confronted, and how they have grown in confidence through collective action.
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June 2019 Government Resolution outlining relief measures for widows of farmers who have committed suicide.