Vasanti with her husband and 2 sons
Vasanti stayed with her 2 sons at Ramanwadi. Financial situation forced her husband to stay and work at Ichalkaranji on power looms. It was very difficult for her to maintain the family. Her husband was not able to support her financially. She and her family had no land for agriculture. Available lands on rent were useless because of no water for irrigation
Vasati’s source of livelihood was to collect forest produce and sale at tehsil market. At Ramanwadi forest is located 8 km from the village settlement. The forest produces Haritaki, Sekakai, some spices etc. During the fruiting season several forest surrounding villagers and from Ramanwadi collect forest produce, sun dry it and sale to local agent. The price which Vasanti use to get for her hard work was very negligible.
Her hard work: Vasanti use to get up early in the morning by 3 am. It use to take long time to lit the wood chula and cook for her family. After cooking she use to leave for forest during sunrise, she use to walk 8-15 km one way to reach deep forest so that she reached before other collectors and get good collection to sustain the family. All the hard work of getting the collection back to village and from village to tehsil market (another 5 km) was painful drudgery. Local collection agent use to pay her in peanuts. Several times being women she was abused by the collectors and the collecting agents. She also had to face forest guard.
This situation was for her lifetime, when her destiny changed in 2006, when she mustered her courage and became a part of irrigation project. She contributed her small share in cash and voluntary labor. Today she is the part of successful irrigation project and she has her turn of 12 hours of water for lifetime. With her available water, she rented a land for cultivation and today she and her family member cultivates 1 acre of land. Since 2006 she stopped going to forest for collection. Her both sons are 10th pass and are part of Venu Madhuris village development program.
Her two sons and daughter (married) are grown with Venu Madhuri and are still part of all the programs. Machindra (yellow shirt) has passed 10th standard recently, in 5th std. he won first prize in inter school competition award by singing Narshima arti. 3 year back Machindra survived from a TB attack, during the time Venu Madhuri support them for treatment at Kolhapur. Ravi (green t shirt) is trained into making clay chulas. Our next plan is to settle the youth with cottage industry.
Vasanti’s cultivated field with Ground nut and sugarcane