The goal of the project is to improve the life standard of poor families and to make their children attend school regularly in order to avoid child labor
Downtrodden families who are having children in the age range between 4 and 16 years
The Cows for Kids [CFK] scheme was started in the year 2004 at a village called Punnapatti, Tamilnadu. Initially, two Self Help Groups [SHGs] with 23 members were selected for the scheme. Then it was extended to 9 other villages. On the whole, 125 families with 129 children out of which 56 girls and 73 boys are covered in the project. In all those villages there is an evening tuition center to take care of the children who are attending schools regularly. Besides the villages under CFK scheme, we provide tuition centers in other villages too. Once there was a situation in which one of our villages situated near a river got affected by flood. It collapsed many huts and four of our cows and six calves were drowned. The bridge which was the main connectivity with other parts of the town was damaged and this affected our scheme beneficiaries to have regular contact with the milk marketers. However, we were able to manage our system subsequently very soon after the disaster. Progressively we manage ourselves successfully to continue the same scheme without any hurdles. The people do understand the impact of the scheme and they co-operate towards the success of the project.
According to the goal of the project we have selected proper beneficiaries from the SHGs and provided them cows and made them to send their children to schools regularly. The SHG members who are living below poverty line and having children in the age of 4-16 years are eligible for this scheme. In each and every SHG we select 12 members for the CFK project and provide a loan of Rs.20, 000/- and allow them to repay the loan without interest within a period of 36 months. After the purchase of the cows with the female calves, they are insured for a year. The Veterinary Doctor inspects all the cows and calves for a perfect insurance. He is also responsible for treating the cows and calves when they are ill, provide worm clearance and insemination of cows. MERDS is facilitating the SHG for a better marketing which are available in the local area. The people are getting regular milk income monthly and repaying a minimum of Rs.500/- to 1000/- as per the schedule. From their income the people can use the money for the expenses of their children, home and cattle feed. Besides the economic improvement, we are keenly concentrating about the children’s education. We started evening tuition centers in each and every CFK village and a teacher is appointed to take care of them. People can also use the repayment amount of CFK loan for paying their fee of tuition center and the stitching courses as decided by the board of BENG.
All the CFK village beneficiaries find the system very useful and they begin not only to earn money but also to look after their children’s study. The local marketing agency accepted to market all our project milk with reasonable price. The awareness among the people to utilize the scheme has improved and lots of other nearby villagers are also approaching for future loans. In every CFK village there is a volunteer to help our SHG group to easily handle the milking activity. The CFK families send their children to schools regularly and also to the tuition centers. They are keen enough to enquire about their children’s study. The children are also performing their best in their school studies as they are motivated and encouraged by our tuition teachers.
In future the number of villages covered under CFK will be increased. Since there are lot of expectations among the rural poor people regarding CFK, we are planning to help them too. We feel it is good to create a separate co-operative sector to collect milk from our various CFK centers and market them for the benefit of our people. The vision for the future is to start milk cooperation in the selected villages and the people can themselves collect and market the milk. Hence they can reap their harvest and get sole benefit out of their hard works.
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