Stories from the Field, Transforming Lives

A tale of perseverance

Reena Kumari

Sulekha Kumari, a resilient woman from rural Jharkhand, embarked on a transformative journey with the harkhand Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Growth (JOHAR)  program which aims to diversify the income of rural households. Overcoming many obstacles, she started poultry farming, inspiring fellow women to seize control of their destinies and redefine their lives.


Sulekha Kumari, a 31-year-old resident of Khokha village in Jharkhand, was intimately familiar with life’s hardships. Like many families in the region, her family too depended on a small plot of land for their sustenance, but it fell short. With the responsibility of two children, Sulekha and her husband faced constant financial struggles.

Determined not to give up, Sulekha discovered a ray of hope in the JOHAR program, offered by State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) through Transform Rural India (TRI),a development design practice. This initiative empowered Self-Help Group (SHG) members like Sulekha by providing essential resources for establishing a poultry business, including chicks, cages, feed, and training—all at a nominal fee. For Sulekha, it was a chance to break free from the cycle of poverty and create a brighter future.


Sulekha, along with nine other courageous didis, took a leap of faith. Pooling their resources by investing Rs 2000 each, they acquired 50 chicks to kickstart their poultry venture. The initial phase proved demanding as they navigated the challenges of chick care, feeding, and maintaining a hygienic environment. Undeterred, Sulekha persevered, drawing strength from the training received and the camaraderie of her fellow entrepreneurs.

After two months of dedicated effort, their perseverance paid off. Sulekha successfully sold 80% of her chickens, earning an impressive Rs 18,000! It was a windfall unlike anything she had experienced before. With more potential income from the remaining chickens, she anticipated an additional Rs 8,000-10,000. This newfound financial boost empowered her to build a long-awaited room in her house that had been a struggle for years.


Sulekha’s story is not just about financial gain, it’s about empowerment. With the success of her poultry venture, she is no longer bound by the limitations of her agricultural land. She plans to expand her flock, generating sustainable income for her family and inspiring other didis in her community. The mentorship and support from TRI fuelled her ambition and she now dreams of becoming a “Lakhpati Didi”.

Sulekha Kumari’s journey is a testament to the power of self-belief and the transformative potential of small-scale interventions. Her story serves as an inspiration to countless rural women, urging them to take charge, embrace opportunities, and rewrite their destinies.


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