Living in Agra village in Madhya Pradesh, it has been tough for us to make both ends meet. The produce of seasonal vegetables from our four-acre land could not give us enough for the family. We had to supplement our income with odd jobs that have not been easy to come by. With a child and in-laws to take care of, I have my task cut out every day.

Water has been the biggest problem for the entire family. There is not enough water for irrigation, drinking or for other household needs. Their land sometimes turns dry because of the lack of water.

An NGO called Haritika once came to our village. They introduced us to the Pragati-gram project that helps people regain their lost necessities. Haritika carried out a survey along with The Coca-Cola India Foundation and later constructed stop dams for our villages. It has now helped us with access to water without having to travel long distances like before.

We are now able to grow several more vegetables that we could in the past – brinjals, tomatoes, chillies and others. They are sold in the nearby markets and we are able to earn nearly 80,000 rupees annually.

Under the Pragatigram project, a Bheem Kund Agriculture Producer Company Ltd has been formed to address the challenges faced by farmers. The company helps farmers by providing them with skills for agriculture, clean irrigation water and technologies that makes working in the fields easier. We now grow wheat and other crops that have better yield.

I am now a part of Haritika-sponsored Self Help Group (SHG) which allows me to save money every month, making `borrowing’ of money simpler for me! This helps me to save money and borrow for providing school fees for my child so that he can do better in future, something all parents wish for!

There is now enough water for everyone, irrespective of the caste and class we belong to.