February 20, 2020
Before Hatching Hope, Chitta Soren taught self-defense part-time while her husband worked as a truck driver. For additional income, they cultivated paddy on their acre of rented land in the Tikpada village of Odisha, India, and sold sal leaf cups and bowls to the local villagers.
In search of a more sustainable income, Chitta began raising poultry three years ago. Unfortunately, she lost her entire flock of 25 birds in her first term due to a bird flu outbreak, with only two out of 13 birds surviving the second term.
Despite her losses, Chitta believed that investing in poultry could help her and her husband to live a better life. Chitta discovered Hatching Hope through Heifer International’s Mayurbhanj Socio-Economic Development (MSED) project self-help group, and she began learning poultry rearing best practices and received technical support. With this support, she was able to raise chickens again, vaccinating and deworming them to prevent disease, and constructed a chicken coop through support from the Hatching Hope program.
Chitta has found that it’s easier to feed the birds and protect them from predators with her new coop, which can accommodate 150 chickens at a time. She currently has 47 chickens, including 9 mother hens and 9 roosters. Chitta expects to sell 100 birds in her first year, which will bring her an income of INR 30,000 or $421 USD, which she plans to use on the expansion of her chicken coop and repairing the water well in her home, which supplies the whole village with drinking water. Prior to joining Hatching Hope, Chitta made roughly IN 3,500 or $50 USD.
Additionally, Chitta hopes to purchase a cow for milk to drink and manure to be used in her garden, purchase a vehicle for her husband, and pay for her education to become a physical trainer.
“I want to bear the expenses for my education myself,” Chitta said. “I want to be seen as an income earner.”
Passing on the Gift
This past November, Chitta participated in a Passing on the Gift® ceremony. This ceremony, celebrated as a festival, is a unique indicator of the progress made by these farmers. Project participants pass on valuable knowledge and important resources, like a chicken, to other families in need, who will then pass on to another family in need. Passing on the Gift continues the replication of the program to build unity and collective action among the community members, supporting other people to grow their incomes.
This past year, 83 women in the Hatching Hope program passed on chickens, eggs and vegetables to 83 other families initiating a chain of social change. Those that received a gift promised to pass it forward to someone else in need.