In Ghaghod, one of the fringe villages of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Devti Bai Baiga is the head of her family. On her husband’s demise, left to bring up five children all by herself, when she was still quite young, the most pressing issue in front of her was to collect drinking water. Most of her mornings were spent walking to the core area to collect water for her family. Morning, was also the time when she had to go for labour work.
Her husband had left her one and half acres of ‘patta’ land and another two acres of land with forest ‘patta’ located adjacent to the core area. With her meagre knowledge of agriculture, she was able to manage food for three months from her land. For the remaining months she had to engage in labour work.
“Peace begins with a Smile”. This story is about Majura. It depicts the kind of satisfaction, the changes that happened and how his life and livelihoods changed. Majura Ho, aged 46 is one of such smiles and an example for many. He belongs to a tribal family from Tulsibani village of Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. He owns four acres of agriculture land including upland, medium and lowland.
While the others in his clan struggled hard to make a living utilizing forest resources, Majura opted to cultivate crops. He learnt to do this by participating in the ‘Similipal Livelihoods Project’ implemented by IGS since year 2010. He received training on SRI and vegetable cultivation. Majura was one of the spearhead members participating in the project.