INDIA: Women increase income with mushroom farming training
Don Bosco Tech launches mushroom farming training for 53 women in Katihar
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Tech launched its first agro-based training program in Katihar, India, in 2020, to teach and empower 53 women to start mushroom farming training and growing mushrooms in their homes. As a result, these women doubled and tripled their initial investments and were able to earn an income to help their families. The program has grown—increasing the number of participants taking the training and the women’s income.
Fr. George Mathew, executive director Don Bosco Tech, said, “We saw in the beginning of the pandemic during the lockdowns that many families, especially in the informal employment sector, had lost their jobs and needed support. That’s when we as an organization decided to create a program to help these young families learn the skills to be able to remain in their own villages and earn an income.”
Mushroom farming was easy to start for most of the women. They could purchase the seeds, grow them in their own homes, and farm while still being in lockdown and engaged with their families. Further, the cost to start was low enough that it was accessible and the profit substantial enough that it made a real impact for these women and their families.
One woman said, “The best thing about Don Bosco Tech’s mushroom farming program is that it’s very profitable. My economic situation was difficult before, but ever since I started farming mushrooms, I have received a good deal of profits, which has improved my economic situation. I am now able to send my children to a good private school, something I couldn’t do before.”
In addition, women in the program gained confidence and were eager to learn and connect with their peers. Prior to the program, many of the women lacked confidence, did not leave their homes often, and were unable to contribute income for their families. Salesian teachers watched how the women personally developed during the training and became eager to launch their own farming businesses.
Don Bosco Tech has a market-based approach to provide skills training for youth between the ages of 18-35 so that they can find and retain employment and become self-sufficient. To date, Don Bosco Tech has set up a network of more than 300 skill training centers across India that attempts to bridge this widening divide between those who have access to opportunities and those who are increasingly being marginalized from the “new economy” jobs.
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
Salesian Missions – India
World Bank – India