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Kankuri

India

Kankuri lives in an Indian village of 500 people about 17 miles from the nearest town, Abu Road.

She remembers a time when she would have to walk into town to sell firewood in the market. It was tough. When rain made the road impassable, she had to climb over a hill, carrying about 44 pounds of wood. She usually earned less than 25 cents, hardly enough to give her seven children nutritious meals.

The long trips took a toll on her body and she knew she couldn’t keep it up for long.

She got her opportunity when she learned about a self-help group for local women. They helped her start her new business—growing vegetables with her husband—and taught her about health practices, where to access health care and how to manage her finances. She learned why it was important for the family to eat together—something unheard of in many rural Indian families.

Now when she goes to the Abu Road market, Kankuri earns as much as $20 selling her produce.

And she has new-found confidence.

“I used to not leave the house. My husband wouldn’t let me leave. Now, I go to my Self-Help Group meetings, I go to the cluster meetings, I go to the Federation meetings. I’m doing good for the family.”

The family now sits together for meals. Kankuri can now pay for children to attend boarding school. And she—not her husband—owns the only cell phone in the house.

Malnutrition is a leading cause of childhood and maternal death in India. Grameen Foundation, through the Freedom from Hunger India Trust, worked with local self-help groups to train community nutrition advocates who educated more than 8,100 women on health and nutrition. And that was just the beginning. The women have made changes in their households benefiting more than 30,000 family members.

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