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Kalpana's Story

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This is the story of 14 year old Kalpana from the state of West Bengal in India and how a simple idea saved her from life as a child labourer.

This is the story of 14 year old Kalpana from the state of West Bengal in India and how a simple idea saved her from life as a child labourer.


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  • Last year, Kalpana’s father, Hakim Barman, received a patta to a homestead plot.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Simple Ideas can change a million lives:Kalpana’s Story
      There is an estimated 12.6 million child laborers in India.
      Crushed by unimaginable poverty, these children are forced into hazardous occupations at a very young age.
      This is the story of Kalpana, a young girl of 13, who narrowly escaped this fate…
    • 2. Kalpana’s Story
      Kalpana is a lively girl who, lives in Coochbehar, West Bengal, and loves to go to school. Her father, a rickshaw puller, used to be the only earning member in this family of seven.
      Then Kalpana’s two elder siblings were forced to drop out of school, and go to work.
      It would have been Kalpana’s turn next…
    • 3. Kalpana’s Story
      Hope for the Barman family came through two RDI initiatives in the state:
      1. Land allocation & Livelihood development: RDI works closely with the state government to strengthen and scale up the implementation of the state’s flagship NijoGrihaNijoBhoomi(NGNB, My Home My Land) scheme. As part of the NGNB programme, the state purchases land and divides it into homestead parcels for allocation to rural landless, families.
      Sample homestead plots under NBNG
    • 4. Kalpana’s Story
      2. Girls Security through Land: By combining land allotment with interventions to improve the status of girls within families and communities and linking them to government programmes that foster girls’ growth and development, this initiative seeks to create a secure future for adolescent girls, most vulnerable to trafficked or married forcibly.
      Community meeting in progress
    • 5. Kalpana’s Story
      In November 2010, Kalpana’s family was one of the several recipients of land in their name, as part of the Bengal government’s NGNB scheme.
    • 6. Kalpana’s Story
      • Previously, the Barman family was forced to live with relatives.
      • 7. The homestead plot gave Kalpana’s family space to build a home and a small kitchen garden.
    • Kalpana’s Story
      Additionally, as part of the Security for Girls through Land initiative, the Barman family received farm inputs like fertilizers, seeds and saplings.
      Kalpana also received training on how to develop a kitchen garden, what plantsto grow and how to nurture them.
    • 8. Kalpana’s Story
      Today, Kalpana supports her father in the kitchen garden, which frees up his time to take up other income generating activities, like fishing or his job as a rickshaw puller.
    • 9. Kalpana’s Story
      Now, the Barmans grow enough to feed their family, and then sell the surplus in the market for a small profit. (INSET: The plot one year ago)
    • 10. Kalpana’s Story
      • Strengthened family finances have meant that Kalpana no longer has to quit school like her siblings, and go to work.
      • 11. She is helping support her family right from their backyard.
    • Kalpana’s Story
      “I am happy that I can support my family.
      But I am happier that I don’t have to quit school to do so.”
      Kalpana
    • 12. Thank you for your interest in Kalpana’s Story
      We are working to improve the lives of thousands of Kalpanas across the country. Your support is invaluable to our endeavours. Please continue to visit www.rdi-india.org to learn more about our initiatives.