Kasthuri's story Harvest 2019

Harvest time is coming. Five women chat and laugh as they tend rows of organic tomato plants, which are already loving the hot sunshine.  

Kasthuri’s life wasn’t always like this. Like her friends, she was born into India’s underclass; as a Dalit, she knows what it feels like to be discriminated against and alone.  

She survived because someone had faith in her. Selvi is from a different caste, but she gave Kasthuri what she needed most – a home to raise her son, Mathi. ‘Normally, someone from her community wouldn’t even hand a cup of water to a Dalit person’ says Kasthuri. Fortunately, Selvi is determined to change the world around her.

Senthamil Selvi, Selvi's mother, Kasthuri, and Mathi at the EcoVeg collective farm in Virudhunagar District, India

The EcoVeg project is also breaking barriers. It supports Kasthuri and her women’s farming collective with agricultural and business skills, and gets them a fair price for their crop. For the first time, everyone has a sense of control over their lives. ‘Alone as a woman, I couldn’t do this’ says Kasthuri, ‘but together, we can be successful. I have no words to explain how happy I am to be here with my son.’

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