Tamilarasi is a 31-year-old mother who is also the breadwinner of her family. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Yenambakkam, Tamil Nadu.
Her family’s finances began to dry up after she had to quit her previous job as a papad (dry snack item) vendor. Her husband worked as a daily labourer but his income alone was insufficient to support their family. He would often spend most of the money he made on his drinking habits, which left Tamilarasi to fend for the family.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, both Tamilarasi and her husband did not have a source of income. This situation left them worried as they slowly used up their savings. Realizing the need to provide immediate relief to vulnerable communities affected, ADRA India responded by providing Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT). This assistance helped Tamilarasi and her community sustain themselves for three months. But they were worried about what they would do after the three months.
Understanding the need for sustainable support in the intervention area, ADRA India helped her and nine other families to establish Organic Kitchen Gardens. The Organic kitchen garden is an alternative livelihood initiative as part of the RISE project. Under the pilot project, ADRA India provided training on organic gardening and took the selected households out on exposure visits to see best practices. The trainees gained knowledge on land preparation, plot designing, manure preparation, sowing and weeding. The trainer also taught them the differences between good and bad insects and how good insects protect and help in the growth of plants. After the training, trainees were selected and supplied with seeds, a fencing net and equipment each to begin their kitchen gardens in their backyards.
Unfortunately, the heavy monsoon that season washed away all their hard work. ADRA India once again provided them with seeds to restart their kitchen gardens. Thankfully, the plants grew beautifully the second time, and the families enjoyed the fruits of their labour. “We can enjoy a meal with at least one brinjal, green chilli, pumpkin, or tomato from the garden every day, and that motivates me to improve and try to do it even better,” says Tamilarasi.