Sukh Lal

An agri-labour by profession, Sukh Lal always had a keen interest in transforming his village, Tahtajpur into a better and sustainable one. He finally grabbed the opportunity by being the caretaker of the Grameen Haat (GH), an innovative concept combining basic services like clean toilets, resting point for highway travelers, with market linkages for output from villages in the vicinity and around the country. GH is another CSR initiative by ITNL to support the MPowered Village concept.
With the initial investment and support provided by ITNL and Mrida, GH is expected to be fully managed by the Village Development Committee (VDC), and become self-sustaining in its operations over time.
Sukh Lal has taken a step forward into the transformation and betterment of the village and also set an example for others to follow his suite.


Lal Karan

The history of agriculture in India dates back to the Rigveda. In many parts of the country modern techniques are used to improve the yield of the crops. These modern techniques involve some CapEx but it reduces the overall cost of production and increases the profitability, including the increase in crop yield. Drip Irrigation System (DIS) is one of the initiatives to enhance the productivity, hence resulting in improved profitability. Unfortunately, these DISs were not used in Village Faridapur Inayat Khan as the interest in growing vegetables was very low among the farmers. Lal Karan, one of the farmers in Faridapur Inayat Khan, came forward and installed DIS with training support from Mrida. His objective was to showcase the benefits of DIS to his fellow villagers and also the benefits arising out of vegetable cultivation. He firmly believes that there are a whole lot of opportunities in farming and this profession has the capability to transform his life. Lal Karan has embarked on this journey of transformation and actively exploring opportunities of directly supplying good quality vegetables and other Agri products to colleges, schools and corporate. Looking at Lal Karan, other farmers like Ram Kumar also undertook this initiative of installing DIS in his field in Village TahTajpur (5 Kms from Village Faridapur Inayat Khan)


Munna Lal

Hailing from a small village called Urla Jagir in Bareily, Munna Lal focuses more on the quality of his produce rather than producing in large quantities with an inferior quality.
Munna Lal has evolved from using obsolete farming methods to improving the quality of the produce with the modern farming techniques. He is an environment socialist who prefers using organic manure to nourish his crops over harmful chemicals. To take this idea to the next level, he has set up a vermi composting unit in his farm. Vermi composting uses earthworms to turn organic wastes into very high quality compost.
With the help of his new initiative, he has not only succeeded in reducing his fertilizer cost, but also set an example of protecting the environment from harmful fertilizers and chemicals. Munna Lal has now created a path for other villagers to follow.


Charan Singh

The key agricultural challenge in India is poor productivity yields across all major crops. Yield is a function of varied inputs such as seed quality, fertilizer usage, irrigation facilities and mechanization. In Faridapur, a village  near Bareily, Mrida group advised farmers to cultivate a new variety of Mentha (Mint) crop, which would give an edge to these farmers in the competitive market.
Charan Singh was one such marginal farmer, who took the idea forward and engaged himself in Mentha cultivation and extraction of Mentha oil to increase his income from agriculture. Now Charan Singh is not only adding value to his crops, but also encouraging other farmers to create such market linkages.
When asked about his future plans, Charan Singh aspires to form a farmers’ association to deal with agricultural products and creating proper market linkages for the supply chain to function smoothly.


Ram Harak

As per the latest census, over a fifth of non-agricultural workers in India commute to work on foot, followed by commuting on cycles, mopeds or motorcycles and buses. Similarly, villagers from Jhajhawa and Belwa (Belwania), Kushinagar Uttar Pradesh, earlier used to walk for 5-7 kms to the nearest town.

Ram Harak, a villager from Jhajhawa, Kushinagar took this initiative of serving the people in his locality by plying an E-Rickshaw to this point (Kaptanganj). Today he is a proud owner of an E-rickshaw and earns Rs, 8000 monthly to support his family.

Looking at his dedication and willingness to serve his community, Ram Harak was given as E-Rickshaw under the CSR program of Mahindra & Mahindra. He also made a down payment of 10% of the rickshaw cost and pays a monthly installment to the Village Development Committe (VDC). He made commuting to Kaptanganj a dream come true for the residents of nearby villages with a nominal cost decided by the VDC.


Deepak Kumar

Once deprived of basic necessities, Village Jhajawa in District Kushinagar, is now blessed with electricity and engaging livelihood alternatives like basket weaving. A noticeable initiative that started in this village was the formation of an ‘E-hub’, an outcome of collaboration between IL&FS and Mrida.
E-hub is an e-commerce and entertainment hub that was initiated to benefit the villagers by increasing their involvement towards developing the village and thus themselves. It is an innovative solar powered package of Education, Entertainment and E-Commerce facilities under one roof. At its core are a LED nano-projector, multimedia technology, and software for education and entertainment. A laptop computer with an internet connection, and a color printer cum copier complete the package. The E-Hub will be housed in a room appropriately furnished with work benches, seating arrangements, and boards with LED lights and fans, all powered by solar grids.
Deepak Kumar, an enthusiastic villager took up the responsibility of functioning the E-Hub and encouraging the villagers to experience the new technology. The Mrida team took this opportunity to showcase various documentaries based on Health & Sanitation, Women Empowerment, Agri training and other such engaging topics.
Looking at the dedication to serve his community, Deepak was entrusted with the responsibility of running the E-Hub. He now owns the E-Hub, which gives a platform to the villagers to receive world class services in their vicinity and also for their children to learn and grow in a better system with a nominal cost.


Israwati Devi

Israwati, a self-driven woman, contributes to her household income by making traditional baskets out of dried grass, locally known as ‘Dohri’, in Village Belwa/Jhajawa, Kushinagar.
Weaving as much as 8 Dohri baskets a month, Isarwati is an active craftswoman who believes in maximizing the income of her family and giving her family a better standard of living. The Mrida group acts as a buyer of her merchandise and fetches her Rs.150 for every Dohri basket. These Dohris are sold at the Grameen Haat built in Tahtajpur.
Isarwati has been working on these baskets for the last 16 months and has produced around 50 pieces of Dohris so far. She is now motivating other women to join her and enhance their livelihood.


Rita Devi

Rita Devi, a housewife from village Kushinagar, took a step forward by getting engaged in an alternative livelihood intervention of ‘Thonga’ making.
Thongas are a potential alternative to poly bags, which are made out of dried and cured leaves. Along with Rita Devi there are a couple of other women who are engaged in ‘Thonga’ making. Each woman can produce around 300 pieces of Thongas in a time frame of 3-4 days, which helps them earn Rs. 150.
Now, Rita Devi is ready to take this initiative forward by motivating and training other women to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves.
Team Mrida is thankful to her for being an essential element of this captivating initiative.

Bhoop Singh

As a ‘Village Level Entrepreneur’ (VLE), Bhoop Singh has evolved into what we at Mrida call a ‘Transformer’. A catalyst for change, he supplements classroom learning with software based tuition in english, science, mathematics and basic computer skills. The Mrida E-Hub acts as an outlet and a tool to exercise these activities.
Bhoop Singh has directed his community towards progress by making his village TahTajpur educationally and technologically sound.


Laxmi Devi

In Bhoop Singh’s absence, his wife Laxmi has been trained to take care of the E-Hub setup by IL&FS and Mrida. Where she was hard-pressed to find work for her spare time, she has now been equipped with skills that help her operate the computer, the printer and the education projector at the E-Hub. This has helped her to utilize her time more productively.
Laxmi is glad with this transformation in her role, as she is able to make a difference and help the future generation of her village TahTajpur grow. And of course, so are IL&FS and Mrida delighted.


Rekha, a graduate, involved herself in the stitching initiative started by IL&FS and Mrida group, to earn a self-sustainable livelihood in TahTajpur, a small village near Bareily.

The stitching intervention aims at providing training by Premanjali, a local NGO. The eight girls
from Tahtajpur are actively engaged in stitching, which makes them capable of earning a sustainable livelihood. The girls were also awarded with a NIOS certification after the completion of their training. IL&FS and Mrida helped the girls to set up a tailoring shop named ‘Raj Laxmi’, which is borne out of the VDC fund. Raj Laxmi has completed its first successful order of stitching school uniforms for students in Gulmeher House, Delhi. Now, the stitching center is getting regular orders from in and around TahTajpur, contributing to the earnings of these girls. The efficiency of the women of creating around 3-4 suits a day, is noteworthy and showcases their growth over the months.

Today, Rekha earns Rs. 70 for every suit she stitches and is proud to proclaim herself as a professional outfitter in TahTajpur. Rekha feels assured that this learning would continue to give
her a regular livelihood even after her marriage. Rekha sets an example as a truly empowered woman.


Ram Singh

A farmer by profession, Ram Singh today manages the accounts of the TahTajpur Village Development Committee (VDC). The VDC collects payments from households for services such as solar lighting; these revenues are in turn allocated for other development activities within the community. As a member of the VDC, Ram Singh now believes that the village is one big family, and relevant actions need to be taken to make it a better place. Ram Singh plays various roles at different capacities – as a Mrida Urja Mitra (fixes any trouble in the grid at village level), as a brother (motivated his sisters to undergo advanced stitching program and come up with a stitching center), as a farmer (he actively participates in the training programs and passes off the learning to his fellow farmers in the village).
Mrida salutes a young man like him, whose true passion lies in the transformation of his village.
Team Mrida is thankful to him for being an essential element of this captivating initiative.