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Teaching Girls to Farm in West Bengal

Project: Women and Food Learning Exchange in Northern India

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In West Bengal, India, 1 in 5 girls is married by age 15. However, a nonprofit based in Seattle, Landesa, is focused on securing land rights for impoverished families all over the world and has found a key to ensuring girls are able to help bring their families out of poverty and learn valuable skills through gardening.

Photo: Landesa
Photo: Landesa

Over the past three years, 48,000 participants have enrolled in the Security for Girls Through Land Project (SGTLP), which works to educate young women in this eastern Indian state about their right to inherit property along with their brothers, and teaches them the hands-on skills necessary to grow food for their families.

You can read the full article here.

When Weather Turns Unfavorable, Farmers Lose Hope

Project: Women and Food Learning Exchange in Northern India

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Tragic farmer suicides sweep India
Tragic farmer suicides sweep India

According to a report by Al Jazeera, “agricultural investment in India is a big gamble. Farmers usually take out bank loans against land to buy seeds and fertiliser, pay salaries, and acquire irrigation equipment.”

However, unforeseen and unwelcome weather patterns can strike at any time, and with less than 20% of Indian farmers insured, this can lead to disastrous results. And for many farmers, in the face of enormous debt, feeling like there’s no other way out.

The suicide rate among Indian farmers was 47 percent higher than the national average, according to a 2011 census. Forty-one farmers commit suicide every day, leaving behind scores of orphans and widows.

You can read more about this tragic epidemic here.