Our Voices

Travel with us to rural West Bengal, India and meet Pinky, Sibani and Durgamoni, three women who’ve faced and overcome the economic and social exclusion of extreme poverty. Hear their remarkable stories firsthand and learn how women once on the margins of their villages can now say “If I continue with my business and farming, I will be on top. No one can stop me.”
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Pinky Besra: “How did I start? I got a grant from Tickle Up. In the beginning I borrowed 3000 rupees. I bought a pig with that money. I sold my pig and made some profit. With that amount I started growing mustard, potato. Now I also grow pumpkin and okra.”

Sibani Hansda: “We are working hard. We grow rice, tomatoes and eggplant. And I raise goats and chickens.”

Durgamoni Mandi: “We sell our livestock to the local vendors, but we sell our crops to a wholesaler in Basantapur.”

Pinky: “I usually sell spices. But when I get vegetables at a cheaper rate, then I buy and sell those at the market.”

Durgamoni Mandi: “After making some initial losses, now we have a fair idea about the right market price. Every week we meet with our savings group. We formed the group with guidance from the Trickle Up field workers.”

Sibani Hansda: “We are 10 members in the group. We start our meeting with a prayer then we deposit our money. And then we discuss farming issues.”

Pinky: “If a member of the group is in need, she can borrow money from the group.”

Durgamoni Mandi: “If there is any trouble among group members, we help them work together and live happily.”

Pinky: “How can I fall back? I will only go ahead. Forget about the past, it will discourage us. You should look forward.”

Sibani Hansda: “Now I’m selling goats and putting that money in a bank.”

Durgamoni Mandi: “We just bought a water pump with 25,000 rupees.”

Sibani Hansda: “We grow all our own vegetables now. And we can afford fish or meat once a week.”

Sushar Besra: “Now we have everything we need. We get enough food. We can buy school books.”

Pinky: “I want to educate my sons and daughters so they can be independent.”

Sushar Besra: “My parents just bought me this mobile phone. It can play songs. But, now I need a memory card.”

Sibani Hansda: “This summer I’m starting a new business, with grass rope. I will sell them for 30 rupees per kilo.”

Pinky: “If I continue with my business and farming, I will be on top, no one can stop me!”

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