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Livelihood for Women

Ansupa is Odisha’s second largest lake, surrounded by village Malabiharpur in Cuttack. Once a tourist spot, over the years as weeds took over, the lake was dying a slow death. When the Gaon Gathana Samiti team first met the local Women Self Help Group Kadambini SHG & Balunkeswara SHG, they were looking for alternate sustainable income sources. When we found that the lake was earlier a tourist spot with boating etc. reviving it as an income generation source emerged as one big opportunity. For that the lake had to be cleared off the weeds first. 30 women took up this difficult task and worked for 10 days cleaning a 2000 sq. ft. area of the lake under Cloth for Work initiative. Around 2 tons of extracted weed was used as compost for the crops. The women received tarpaulins and tent house material as a reward for their efforts from Goonj. These will be used to cover the nearby bandstand, making it convenient for passing by travelers to wait, have food or for people to get together for cultural performances. The women plan to give the tent house material on rent to generate income. On the first day, after the lake cleaning, the SHG got Rs. 100/- from boating in the lake. The first tourist season has yielded Rs 15000 revenue for the SHG and the hope is to make 50,000 – 60,000 in the coming season. Something that started with cleaning a lake is having many ripple effects now with these enthusiastic, enterprising women.

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