Opportunity International Australia creates pathways out of poverty through trusted, sustainable solutions like ‘Buffaloans’. In rural parts of Northern and Western India like Chetna’s village in Gujarat - the need is enormous.
Chetna is a skilled buffalo farmer from a remote village in the District of Mahesana, Gujarat. She has two sons and a daughter.
When Chetna’s children were little her husband suddenly got sick and the family was plunged into crisis. Chetna felt overwhelmed, raising three children, with little food, clothing or money for schooling. Every cent was spent on her husband’s medicine.
“I thought ‘what will the children do if I lose courage?’ So, I did not lose heart. I spent 9 lakh (approximately A$16,500) on his medicine, but he didn’t survive.”
So, with grit, determination, and the help of a Buffaloan from Opportunity’s partner in India, Chetna and her children began to rebuild their lives.
“We had to do something to live,” Chetna said. “I took a first loan for INR31,000 (A$566.73). I sold the buffalo’s milk to pay off the instalments and saved some of the money to pay for my children’s education.”
I sold the buffalo’s milk to pay off the instalments and saved some of the money to pay for my children’s education.”
After successfully completing her first loan, Chetna took a second loan for INR66,000 (A$1,200), to buy a second buffalo and increase milk production, boosting her income. Subsequent loans have allowed her to build her business.
Today Chetna stands tall, as she carries home-grown buffalo feed from her garden. Her three buffalos are housed in a small shed, one is pregnant.
Her household is now fully sustainable and well supported thanks to the generosity of Opportunity’s community and Chetna’s thriving buffalo business. “Now I sell 14 litres of milk in the village every morning and evening,” Chetna said.
Buffalo farming is an important component of India’s rural economy. Buffaloans are a trusted, sustainable solution. Chetna keeps 1.5 litres of milk to provide for her family’s needs. Buffalo milk is richer in calcium and protein than cow’s milk and has less cholesterol and sodium. Leftover milk is made into curd and buttermilk.
With her savings growing, Chetna has bought more buffalos and paid for her children’s education. Her daughter, Ankita now works as a nurse. Her eldest son, Dhiren has completed a Bachelor of Science and her younger son Aditya is studying computer technology.
Chetna sleeps well knowing she is now financially secure. Her buffalos have animal insurance, in the event they become unwell and can’t produce milk.
For Chetna’s family the future is bright.
Learn more about how buffalo loans can help transform lives for women, their families and their communities.