Jyotishna cluster | Village Invest

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Jyotishna cluster

India
Agriculture, Small shop, Retail
Two men and a young boy pose for the camera in rural Rajasthan, India
Yellow rating
Low risk

 Jyotishna cluster is made up of three hamlets. The local population are mainly Mina tribal people. Most families here depend on livestock for their income and many people work as laborers on other people's land or do masonry work. Some families own small pieces of land, where they grow food to eat and a small amount to sell.

The villagers formed a community financial structure eleven years ago, prior to which they had no choice but to borrow from money-lenders who charged upwards of 24% in interest. To pay off family debts, women were often forced to pawn their jewellery, which was their main wealth, or mortgage their farm land. These debts have been passed on from parent to child, transforming landowners into bonded laborers in the span of one or two generations.

The new community-owned milk collection center in one of the villages is helping to provide a steady income. All the women who sell milk here can join the cooperative and benefit from dividends from their shares at the end of the year. To make the center profitable, the villagers need to increase their livestock population.