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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Solace in suicide country

A couple supports farmer families devastated by suicides

Written by Shruti Nambiar | Published: January 1, 2012 10:51:20 pm

A small revolution of self-reliance is brewing in the suicide-hit Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. In the sleepy neighbourhood of Kale Layout live the Kadres. For the past six years,Vijay kaka and Manik tai Kadre have been at the helm of this quiet revolution. In a district infamous for farmer suicides in the country,they have inspired 30-odd kindred souls to come together and support families devastated by deaths of their sole breadwinners.

The Deendayal Bahuuddeshiya Prasarak Mandal and the Deendayal Shetkari Vikas Prakalp were formed in 2006 with a broad vision. Vijay kaka wanted to help families orphaned by farmer suicides find their feet again,and also discourage more suicides. They have set up two hostels in Yavatmal—Vivekananda Chhatravas for boys and Tejaswini Chhatravas for girls belonging to the suicide-affected families. They have adopted 114 afflicted families from 68 villages across the district for financial,medical,and educational support. The two hostels offer free boarding and education,and even arrange for scholarships.

Geeta Bhagat’s farmer husband committed suicide in 2008. He had a debt of Rs 60,000. Today she runs a shoe shop in her village,Mohada,with the help of the organisation—she earns Rs 6,000 a month. Two of her four children live in the Yavatmal hostels. “Without the help of this group,I would be nowhere,” she says.

Thirty-five-year-old Yashodabai Tekram’s husband took his life five years ago,unable to bear the burden of a Rs 35,000 loan. Her son-in-law took over the work on their five-acre land,but he too committed suicide 16 months ago. Sitting outside their single-room mud house,the mother and the daughter say they hope to start a flour mill with the help of the organisation.

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